PROVO It didn't take Columbo to figure out how high the stakes would be when Snow Canyon junior Joe Beutler collided with Mountain Crest sophomore Jake Taylor in the 200 freestyle on the opening day of the 4A state swim meet.
Ever since the UHSAA announced that Snow Canyon would be moving up to Class 4A for the 2007-08 sports season, many have wondered whether Beutler, the two-time 3A Swimmer of the Meet, and Taylor, an emerging star in the state, would swim against one another in either of the distance freestyle events.
To their credit, the young stars did not avoid each other, and the resulting battle in the 200 free Friday evening proved to be worth the wait.
And Beutler proved at least for one evening that he is the king of 4A swimming.
Overcoming a frenetic early start by Taylor, the Snow Canyon sophomore stayed at his own pace throughout and beat out Taylor over the final 100 yards en route to a 1:41.95-1:42.80 win on Friday.
"This was probably the most intense race I've ever swam in and maybe ever will swim," said Beutler, who set a state record and netted a lifetime best.
Per the team races, Springville posted a solid opening day en route to a 139-113 lead over Murray on the boys side. Beutler's team, Snow Canyon, was seeded to be in second place at the end of Friday but struggled in some races and sits in third with 94 points. On the other side, East set a 4A record in the 200 medley relay and leads Timpview, 145-117.
Perhaps the key for Beutler to come from behind against Taylor was to simply maintain his own tempo. He didn't panic when Taylor jumped out early and reeled him in after that.
"I always know it's going to be a dog fight with him," said Beutler.
Meanwhile, Bryant Taylor recorded a win for Springville in the 50 free, and the Red Devils swam quite well across the board.
"Great day great day for us," said Springville coach Amyee Hargett. "I'm really proud of them. I thought they dug really deep, and came out on top."
East's Dane Philpot (200 IM) also won individually on the boys side.
On the other hand, East's girls team had an up-and-down opening day, but the Leopards surprised many by putting their top stars in the 200 medley relay and emerged not only with a win but with a new 4A record.
"I asked the senior girls what events they wanted to swim in relays, and that's one of the relays they wanted to swim," said East coach Mark Gray. "So we did it."
Shelby Bull and Winifred Lau, who swam the final two legs of that relay, also posted individual wins in the 50 free and 200 IM, respectively.Timpview junior Meagan Stone recorded Friday's other individual win in the 200 IM.