1 of 2
Jason Olson, Deseret Morning News
East High School's Shelby Bull swims her way to a win in the girls 100-yard freestyle title last season during the 4A state championship.

She is the fastest sprint swimmer in the state. She's a senior. She has a swelling collection of individual and relay state-championship medals. And her last name is Bull. Yes, Bull.

Yet East High's Shelby Bull says she doesn't feel like she's "The Leader" of her team.

Come again?

Bull might not profess to be the leader of the Leopards, the defending 4A champs, but there's no question that this is her team.

In the absence of former teammate Sara Jayne Christiansen, a three-time 4A Swimmer of the Meet who has moved on to BYU, Bull is the unquestioned leader of a deep and talented East girls team — whether she likes the label or not.

"We'd be hurtin' without her," said coach Mark Gray.

The way Bull sees it, she isn't concerned about being viewed as a leader. Rather, she said she simply wants to do as well as possible.

"I don't really feel like 'The Leader' or whatever," said the University of Wyoming signee. "I'm just going to try and do my best, (both) individually and ... for the team."

In swimming, "leaders" usually lead by pushing teammates in workouts, by excelling individually and by being an indispensable part of relays at meets.

By that criteria, Bull is a fantastic leader.

Teammate Winifred Lau, a winner last year in the 200 free and 100 butterfly, pointed out that, while she doesn't always swim behind Bull in workouts, Bull pulls her along whenever they're in the same lane.

"She pushes me really hard," said Lau.

And there are Bull's swims.

By now, almost everyone in the state knows how good of a freestyler she is. After finishing second in the 50 free and 200 free as a freshman, Bull has won all four of her individual events since. Along the way, she's been part of four state championship-winning relay teams.

"We count on her for her places," said Gray. "She's a fast swimmer. I can count on her in relays where I really need her.

"She helped us out tremendously last year in relays, and we're pulling for that off of her. She's just a tremendous relay swimmer."

Individually, Bull said she wants to get an All-American time in the 50 free.

"I really want to get my All-American time. Like, I really, really want to get my All-American time," she said.

As a team, Bull will aim to help East hold off Timpview and repeat as 4A state champs. Though Christiansen has graduated, the Leopards brought almost everyone else back, including a talented group of sophomores and freshmen.

"I think we have a really good chance because we have a lot more depth this year," said Bull. "We have a whole bunch of freshmen that came in that are really good."

E-mail: [email protected]