PROVO A year ago at the 5A state swim meet, American Fork star Candice Smith came agonizingly close six hundredths of a second to be exact to the 100 backstroke state record of 56.66, set in 1996 by Cottonwood's Heidi Hausknecht.
Smith came even closer to history this time around, but Hausknecht's record somehow survived again.
Smith, an Olympic trials qualifier, finished the 100 back with a time of 56.67 at the 5A meet Saturday, leaving her just one hundredth of a second short of the decade-old mark.
"I cut my nails yesterday that's probably the reason I didn't get it," she joked.
However, while the state record eluded her, 5A girls Swimmer of the Meet honors didn't. The BYU-signee racked up 148 power points to win the highest-rated individual swim of all three state meets this year and finished with 278 points to defeat Skyline's Marnie Knoop (271), Viewmont's Melissa Manser (269) and Lone Peak's Kimberly Welch (268).
On the other side, Skyline junior Josh Tanner tied a 5A record in the 200 free and beat out West Jordan star Jordan Fletcher in the 100 free en route to the 5A boys Swimmer of the Meet award. Tanner (274 points) beat out Brighton's Cody Reed (266) and Fletcher (263).
Smith said she felt like she should've taken her 100 back swim "out a little bit faster" and that she barely missed a turn. Still, her effort in the event was outstanding.
"I can't be mad at myself because I gave 110 percent," she said.
Looking ahead, Smith has a huge summer on the horizon.
A year ago, Smith qualified for this summer's USA Olympic trials in the 200-meter backstroke. By the time she dives into the water in Omaha, Neb., at the end of June, she will have been training for the moment for an entire year.
Meanwhile, Tanner put himself in position to win the 5A boys Swimmer of the Meet by tying a state record in the 200 free Friday evening, and he cemented the individual win by defeating Fletcher in a neck-and-neck 100 free race Saturday."He killed me on the start and he was ahead of me at the 50, (but) I just brought it home fast," said Tanner.
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