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Alta girls swim team takes third in state

Published: Thursday, Feb. 23 2012 12:24 p.m. MST

Alta swimmer Brianna Francis captured two individual state swimming titles and swam in two winning relays at the state 5A swimming meet, held Feb. 10-11 at BYU. The Sandy senior was named Female Swimmer of the Year at the meet.

Ron Bevan

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Alta coach Pat Thurman knew he had four swimmers that, if teamed together on relay teams, could do well at the state 5A meet. And they did. The four won both relays and helped grab a third place state finish for the Hawks.

Alta scored 234 team points at the meet, held at BYU Feb. 10-11, to finish third behind champion Brighton and runner up Bingham.

The Hawks reached third mostly on the backs of four swimmers, Hailey Wilkinson, Breanna Francis, Alicia May and Taylor Coffey. The quartet scored 211 of Alta’s total points, including taking both the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay.

“I kind of knew if we put them together on a relay team they would do amazing things,” Thurman said. “They wanted to do the medley relay all year, and I also put them into the freestyle relay.”

Wilkinson, a senior from Draper, swam the opening backstroke in the 200 medley relay. Francis, a junior from Sandy, handled the breast stroke, while May, a junior from Sandy took over the butterfly and Coffey, a senior from Sandy, brought home the race in the freestyle leg. They finished at 1:49.67 and set a new school record.

“Everyone did their parts in the medley relay,” Francis said. “We put our best talents forward.”

The quartet teamed up again to finish off the meet with a win in the 400 yard freestyle relay. They set a school record at 3:36.40.

“We were never stacked like that throughout the year, but we got to do it for state,” Wilkinson said. “It was so magical with our efforts together. It was a great way to finish out my high school swimming career.”

Francis also captured individual state titles in the 100 yard breast stroke (1:04.72) and the girls 200 individual medley, where she swam all four stroke styles. Her time of 2:04.02 set a new state record.

“I am a very competitive person,” Francis said. “But I have come to understand that I can’t race the people in the other lanes. I have to race the clock to get better. It just comes down to just you and the water.”

Her performances in the individual events and the relays helped Francis earn Female Swimmer of the Year at the meet.

“There were a lot of great swimmers at the meet,” she said. “I was humbled to be the one to receive the honor.”

Wilkinson finished fourth in the 100 yard freestyle (54.98) and Coffey was seventh in the event (55.97). Wilkinson also finished third in the 100 yard backstroke (1:01.34).

May tied her own school record with a third place finish in the 50 yard freestyle (24.72). Coffey followed her in at fourth place (25.26). May also finished second in the 100-yard butterfly (59.91).

Thurman was named co-coach of the year for the women’s team, an honor he deflected on to his team.

“The recognition I received was only a reflection of the girls and the work they did,” he said. “They have given so much dedication to become better swimmers.”

On the boys’ side, junior Jayden Rasband, finished fifth in the 500-yard freestyle (4:51.42) and fifth in the 200 yard freestyle (1:47.41). Both times set new school records.

-Ron Bevan

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