With some incredible returning talent in the pool, the 2018-19 swim season is already shaping up to be a fantastic one in all four classifications.
Six of the eight Swimmers of the Meet from last year’s state meets are back, and several of them have the potential to break all-time state records by the end of the season.
That list of six doesn’t even include Rachel Butler, who’s the all-time state record holder in the 200 individual medley. She was the runner-up to Cottonwood senior Rhyan White for Swimmer of the Meet a year ago.
Just over a month into the high school season, here’s a class-by-class look at the top contenders and what to expect.
American Fork girls and Lone Peak boys claimed the inaugural 6A state titles a year ago, and the two programs will be among the favorites again this season.
American Fork’s girls lost several key swimmers to graduation, but coach Kathy King said the depth of the program has been bolstered by a strong freshman class and several newcomers.
Sophomore Allie Hill is the defending state champ in the 500 free, and along with Amelia Edwards, Sara Edwards and Talia Thomas, the Cavemen have plenty of talent to try and repeat as state champs.
“If they do the work required, that’s a possibility and within our sights,” said King.
Lone Peak’s girls finished second a year ago and even though it was hit hard by graduation, it should remain in the thick of things with a strong incoming group of freshmen.
Lone Peak junior Summer Shreeve is the defending state champ in the 100 and is one of the key swimmers for the Knights, along with returning contributors Megan Mickelson and Camarie Cardon.
Kearns finished third last season in the team race and, led by returning 6A Swimmer of the Meet Lily Plaudis, it figures to be in the thick of the race with improved depth.
Lone Peak’s boys squad was absolutely dominant a year ago, beating Pleasant Grove by nearly 150 points for the team title. That was a senior-laden squad, but coach Celeste Tiffany expects the Knights to be among the favorites again.
“We graduated some pretty strong swimmers and some exceptionally fast swimmers, but we still have a pretty solid group and they’ve really stepped up and they’re ready to race,” said Tiffany.
Among them is junior Jordan Tiffany, who won the 100 fly and 200 individual medley a year ago. He’s been training in Arizona since the summer, but he’s still enrolled at Lone Peak and will compete for the Knights again this season.
The Vikings were a distant second a year ago, but they’re very strong in the sprints and the freestyle and will challenge Lone Peak again.
Devin Bunnell is the defending champ in the 500 free and was the 6A Swimmer of the Meet a year ago.
Returning state champs
200 IM — Lily Plaudis, Kearns
50 free — Abby Frazier, Layton
100 fly — Summer Shreeve, Lone Peak
500 free — Allie Hill, American Fork
100 breast — Lily Plaudis, Kearns
200 IM — Jordan Tiffany, Lone Peak
100 fly — Jordan Tiffany, Lone Peak
500 free — Devin Bunnell, Pleasant Grove
Graduation could level the swimming pool a bit when it comes to 5A swimming.
Cottonwood’s girls won last year’s team title with a dominant effort, while Brighton’s boys edged Cottonwood to claim its title. Both champs lost some outstanding talent, and even though each has depth to fall back on this year it’s created a bit more uncertainty
Brighton’s boys graduated three key seniors, but underclassmen Taua Fitisemanu, Tyler Quentin, Sage Doyle, Nick Thomson and Sean Farrenkopf all were major contributors at state and they will keep the Bengals in the hunt once again.
Cottonwood’s boys were a close second to Brighton a year ago and, with two-event champ Blayze Kimble returning, it’s a legit title contender again.
“We have seven or eight really strong males, and if they all show up and have a great meet we do have a chance of mixing it up and hopefully finishing ahead of those dominant male teams. We’re optimistic,” said Cottonwood coach Ron Lockwood.
Martin Anders, Colin Dailey and Jacob Ricci are among that talented group of Cottonwood swimmers who will push Brighton.
Springville’s Cameron Green is back this year after claiming 5A Swimmer of the Meet a year ago after winning the 100 back.
For Cottonwood’s girls there are significant holes to fill because of graduation, but there’s plenty of talent to get things done. Jessica Loyd, Quinn Stephenson, Emma Walker, Kennedy Callaway and Madison Cutler were all contributors last year who expect even better success a year later.
“That’s been a blessing Cottonwood, a lot of talented depth,” said Lockwood.
The top returning athlete in all of 5A is Brighton’s Rachel Butler. She is the defending champ in the 200 I.M., and already this year she owns the top time in the entire state in the 200 free, 200 I.M. and 500 free.
Returning state champs
200 free — Mariah Maile, Viewmont
200 IM — Rachel Butler, Brighton
50 free — Rachel Oyler, Timpview
100 free — Mariah Maile, Viewmont
100 breast — Emma Walker, Cottonwood
200 IM — Blayze Kimble, Cottonwood
100 back — Cameron Green, Springville
100 breast — Blayze Kimble, Cottonwood
Knocking off the defending state champs is going to be difficult for anyone in 4A.
Park City’s girls are loaded with returning talent from last year’s dominant squad, and Desert Hills’ boys only graduated two primary contributors from a year ago while its top challengers — Mountain Crest and Park City — were hit hard by graduation.
Desert Hills’ Payton Plumb is the defending state champ in the 200 I.M. and he was named co-4A Swimmer of the Meet last year along with Sky View’s Jake Walters, who also returns.
Along with Plumb, Ashton Anderson and Keegan Wawrzyniak are key returning contributors for the Thunder.
Already this season Plumb owns the top 100 free, 100 back and 200 I.M. times in the entire state.
On the girls side, Park City beat Sky View by nearly 100 points to claim the team title, but it only graduated two key contributors.
Park City coach Mike Werner said his team is load with returning talent led by Helena Djunic, last year’s 4A Swimmer of the Meet, and the defending state champion in the 200 free and 500 free. Teammate Elise Beller is also the returning state champ in the 200 I.M. and the 500 free.
Other key contributors are Jessi Beyer and Emma Strong-Conklin.
“Those will be our leaders who help us stay in the hunt,” said Werner.
Desert Hills’ girls were runners-up to Park City a year ago and, like Park City, they return the majority of last year’s squad led by Mya Ottenschot, Caitlin Romprey and Trinity Schimbeck.
Returning state champs
200 free — Helena Djunic, Park City
200 IM — Elise Beller, Park City
100 free — Helena Djunic, Park City
500 free — Elise Beller, Park City
100 back — Caitlin Romprey, Desert Hills
100 breast — Addison Richards, Orem
200 free — Ryan Bunn, Hurricane
200 IM — Payton Plumb, Desert Hills
100 fly — Nic Tronson, Lehi
500 free — Darwin Anderson, Sky View
100 back — Jake Walters, Sky View
Rowland Hall’s girls edged Carbon for its first swimming title in school history last February, and the battle for this year’s crown could come down to the same two schools and be equally as close.
Both schools return the majority of their contributors and are poised for another great season.
Rowland Hall’s Ella Vitek is the reigning state champ in the 50 free, and she headlines a squad that includes Grace Smith, Alison Puri and Katie Moore.
Carbon didn’t feature an individual champ last year, but the depth that resulted in a second-place finish last year mostly returns.
Two multi-event champs are back in 3A, Millard’s Drew Roper and Grand’s Hadlee Begay. Roper won the 100 free and 100 back last year to claim Swimmer of the Meet.
On the boys side, Emery is the front-runner to win a third straight state title.
Keldan Guymon returns after winning the 50 and 100 free a year ago, while other key contributors Deegan Minchey and Parker Stilson also return.Comment on this story
North Summit was the 3A runner-up a year ago, but it graduated multiple key contributors and will need newcomers to step in and fill those voids.
Grand’s Braxten Pierce is the defending state champ in the 200 and 500 free.
Returning state champs
200 free — Rachel McMaster, Beaver
50 free — Ella Vitek, Rowland Hall
100 fly — Hadlee Begay, Grand
100 free — Drew Roper, Millard
500 free — Hadlee Begay, Grand
100 back — Drew Roper, Millard
200 free — Braxten Pierce, Grand
50 free — Keldan Guymon, Emery
100 free — Keldan Guymon, Emery
500 free — Braxten Pierce, Grand