BOUNTIFUL — From the moment veteran coach Yolanda Bates took over Mountain Crest's swim program two years ago, she has tried to get her kids to buy into her philosophy.

As she'll quickly point out not everyone buys in. But for the ones that do, the results can be pretty special.

That's what happened to junior captain Raechel Ashton at the Region 5 championships Thursday.

On a day that saw Mountain Crest net convincing team wins on the boys side and girls side, Ashton dropped over three seconds to finish second to teammate Macinze O'Very in the 200 IM — putting herself in an excellent position for state — and well over a second to beat O'Very in the 100 breast.

"I always tell the kids, 'If you believe in me and if you do the work, this is what can happen — right there' (pointing to the pool at the South Davis Recreation Center)," said Bates. "And she totally believed me. She has worked so hard."

From top to bottom, Mountain Crest had solid swims like the ones Ashton turned in Thursday, and the net result was a 320-222 win over Sky View on the boys side and a 340.5-259.5 win over Box Elder on the girls side.

Ashton hopes to go even faster next week, but her progress to this point has been an accomplishment of itself. A year ago, she medaled in the 100 breast but finished 22nd in the 200 IM at state. Heading into this year's 4A meet, however, she's already over seven seconds faster than her 2007 finishing time in the IM.

"Last season I was like, 'Just get it over with.' I wasn't excited about it," Ashton said of the IM. "This year, it's like, 'Whew.' It's fun to swim now, and it's like, 'Sprint it to your fullest."'

The Mustangs, armed with a solid boys team and girls team, plan to play a major role in the proceedings during next week's 4A state championships. Accordingly, they didn't taper their upper-tier swimmers for the Region 5 meet, and some, including star sophomore Jake Taylor, swam off events.

Nonetheless, they had more than enough firepower to capture their third consecutive boys region title and fourth consecutive girls title.

On the boys side, Taylor won the 200 IM and 500 free, and the Mustangs swept all three relays.

On the girls side, they got individual victories — in addition to the ones from Ashton and O'Very — by Meghan O'Very (200 free and 500 free), Elizabeth Watts (50 free) and Erin Anderson (100 free) and also swept all three relays.

On top of the first-place finishes, Mountain Crest had a host of swimmers drop points, which yielded more points Thursday and will help at state.

Meanwhile, Box Elder, bolstered by a number of very good swims during the middle of the meet, edged out Sky View by 36.5 points for second place on the girls side.

"The girls — I'm amazed. I'm just amazed," said Box Elder coach Craig Robinette. "We had a talk at the ... break, and they decided that's what they wanted. And they did it."


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