PROVO — The second day of the 4A state swim meet was chock full of photo finishes and broken records.
In fact, it wasn’t until the Mountain Crest boys team broke a record in the meet finale at BYU on Saturday evening that the Mustangs solidified first place in the team competition.
“Working out the meet, it came down to whoever won that last relay won the state championship,” said Skyline coach Joe Pereira.
The Mustangs not only defeated Skyline in that 400-yard freestyle relay and in the team standings, but it was also Skyline's 4A record that fell when seniors William Watts, Ben Stewart, Sean O’Very and junior Porter Roe completed the race in 3:11.93.
“We’ve been looking at that (record) all season and we’ve been wanting to break it,” Mountain Crest coach Tom Williams said of the 3:12.14 mark Skyline held. “Not only did they break it, but they broke it by a substantial amount.”
The Mustangs totaled 328 points to amazingly eke past second-place Springville (324) by four points and third-place Skyline (301) by 21 points. Springville coach Amyee Hargett was named boys coach of the year by the Utah Swim Coaches Association.
“Halfway through the second day I thought we were going to take second to Springville,” Williams said. “When we came out first I was shocked, surprised, happy, really proud of (my team).”
O’Very and Roe aided the Mustang effort earlier in the day with victories in the 100-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke, respectively.
“Those two were key in winning, so I’m very proud of them,” Williams said of O’Very’s time of 48.48 seconds and Roe’s time of 53.28 seconds in those events. “Also, the backstroke was really important. We had Riley Herzog (sixth place), Josh Burningham (third place), Adam Edwards (13th place) scoring points.”
Meanwhile, starring for Mountain Crest's girls team was junior Hailey Pabst, who took first in the 100 free with a time of 52.80 seconds. She then beat her own 4A record in the 50 free for the second time in two days. As the lead swimmer in the 200-yard freestyle relay, Pabst’s leg counts toward the record. She completed it in 23.73 seconds, just one-hundredth of a second faster than her record-setting swim Friday.
“She’s a fantastic swimmer as a junior,” Williams said. “We have great things in store for her.”
In spite of Pabst’s record, it wasn’t Mountain Crest that won the relay. Rather, the Skyline team of freshman Claire Brooks, junior Sophie Brooks, senior Polly Creveling and junior Audrey Miller bested the Mustangs by 0.28 seconds with a time of 1:40.46.
On top of that victory, the Eagles earned points with top finishes in both the 400 free relay, which Miller, sophomore Ali Dibble, Creveling and junior Lillian Moore won by nearly five seconds with a time 3:36.52, and in Moore’s record-setting 100-yard butterfly performance. Her time of 56.19 seconds was more than a second faster than the previous 4A record that Moore set in 2012.
“She’s very, very competitive,” Pereira said of Moore, who was named the 4A female swimmer of the year. “When we swam against Highland and Zoe Phillips touched her out in the 400 free relay, she has not backed off. And she has taken anybody who will follow her along with her.”
That competitive fire ignited the Eagles, who won the girls team title handily with 406 points. Mountain Crest finished second with 211 points and Highland was third with 202 points. Pereira was named girls coach of the year.
Leading Highland was a pair of freshmen twins who share a love of swimming but not a last name.
“We like to tell people we were separated at birth,” said Zoe Phillips, who won the 100 back with a time of 57.49 seconds. “Actually our parents just wanted to keep their last names with their children.”
Phillips’ sister, Eva Gontrum, won the 500-yard freestyle easily with a time of 5:12.34. It was her second championship of the weekend.
The boys 500 free champion was also young as sophomore Connor Anderson outstretched Watts, the 4A male swimmer of the year, by just 0.47 seconds with a time of 4:37.11.
“It’s an exhausting race,” Anderson said afterward. “It’s one of the hardest races for sure, but when you swim fast and get a good time, it’s really rewarding.”
The Skyline boys defeated Springville in the 200 free relay by just six-hundredths of a second thanks to the efforts of freshmen Adam Shelton.
“I took a gamble on a freshman and he gave me everything he had,” Pereira said. “He swam a second-and-a-half faster than he’d ever been in his life. That made the difference.”
Eagle swimmers sophomore Mckay Chamberlain, Shelton, senior Phill Ogden and junior James Sorensen touched the wall in 1:28.91.
Jarom Chamberlain of Olympus won the 100 fly with a time of 52.79 and John Morris of Springville won the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:00.54. In the girls 100 breaststroke, Woods Cross junior Alexis Ralph enduring a clock malfunction before learning she had edged Highland sophomore Tyler Stephenson by just two-tenths of a second.
“I saw my dad on the side and he was cheering, and I saw Tyler really, really close to me. When I finished I didn’t know what place I got and the clock was wrong,” said Ralph, who had a time of 1:09.73.
“My goal at the beginning of the season was to win this,” Ralph added. “(Stephenson) moved here from (out of state) this year and I wasn’t planning on her being here. But it makes winning it more special because it’s a greater accomplishment.”
Sarah Thomas is a graduate of the University of Utah and has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org