West Jordan senior Jordan Fletcher has enjoyed considerable success during his high-school swimming career. Twice as a sophomore and twice as a junior, Fletcher experienced the joy of being handed a first-place medal before ascending to the highest step of the podium to commemorate a state-championship win.
Getting up there two more times during his final prep swimming meet in a week-and-a-half would be really nice, but that's not what has been driving Fletcher at the end of his prep swimming career.
Heading into today's Region 3 championships and next week's 5A state championships, Fletcher, rather than think of himself, has instead focused the majority of his attention on his teammates.
He said that brings him the most satisfaction.
"You work hard and you do your best. You learn a skill, and after you've done all you can, you help others," said Fletcher, one of the stateis elite swimmers and heavy favorite to win 5A boys "Swimmer of the Meet."
"I think that's where the real rewards come from. Last year, I did my best, and I felt pretty good. But I did the same thing as a sophomore, and it felt like I was doing the same thing. So this year I really went out of my way to try and help others and try to get them to where I was. It's a lot more rewarding to see them on the podium."
West Jordan's swimming program has been transformed since Fletcher arrived four years ago, and everyone associated with West Jordan hopes the team can go out with a bang.
For the first time in school history, the Jags won the Region 3 championship a season ago and finished second at state. But this time around, it's all about trying to end Skyline's seven-year reign as 5A boys state champions.
"We've done everything we can to try to get an edge on those Skyline kids who have tradition. They have the yards, they have all the hard work," said Fletcher. "We have to find any way we can (to win)."
Added coach Kevin Fletcher, Jordan"s father: "They're gonna drop time. They're known for it; we're not known for it. We're known for our sprinting."
There has been considerable discussion in the last month about how close West Jordan will be to Skyline and about whether it will have a chance to defeat the Eagles. That talk has been tempered since Brighton's major upset over Skyline at last weekend's Region 2 meet. However, there's no question West Jordan will be right therewhether itis battling Skyline and/or Brighton.
When trying to score out the state meet as things currently stand, perhaps the biggest question mark in 5A has been about where Jordan Fletcher will swim at state. He could chase records in the 100 fly and/or the 50 free at the state meet, but he could end up in other events to try and help his team.
Would he be willing to swim anywhere at state?
"Absolutely," he said. "I'll do anything for the team, wherever they need me."
In any event, Fletcher is just trying to enjoy the here and now. Fletcher's personal plans seem clear enoughhe plans to go on an LDS mission immediately after graduation and said, as of now, he's leaning towards swimming at the University of Utah upon his return. What will happen to his father's swim coaching career and to West Jordan's swim program are unknowns.
Kevin Fletcher, a long-time track and football coach, took over for Gene Peterson after last season, but it's unclear whether he'll continue with West Jordan beyond the conclusion of his son's swim career.
"My eyes are set on the (February) 8 and 9, dates of the 5A meet," said Kevin Fletcher, "and after that, I don't know what's going to happen. I know I'm going to get to know my wife again, but that's about it."
Combine that with the fact that West Jordan has a very senior-laden squad, and this year's 5A championships really could be a last hurrah.
And a chance for the Jags to make a lasting impression on the prep swim world.
"Stay in the moment we're going to really focus on that," said Kevin Fletcher.