BOUNTIFUL – If you want to be a champion, speed is the name of the game.
The state swim meet, set for Feb. 14 and 15 at BYU, will showcase some of the fastest high school athletes the event has ever seen. With qualification times shrinking every year, it takes plenty of skill for swimmers to simply snag a place at the starting line.
“Only the top swimmers in each event make it in, and the cutoff is less time this year than it was last year,” said Steve Doman, who coaches Viewmont High’s swim teams in 5A and Woods Cross High’s swim teams in 4A. “Swimming in Utah is getting faster every year.”
Of his four teams, Doman feels that the Viewmont girls have the best chance to take state as a team. Mariah and McKenna Gassaway are in the running to make All-American this year, which would mean they were among the top 50 fastest swimmers in the U.S. Mariah broke the previous Region 1 record for the girls’ 100 yard breaststroke, and both girls were on relay teams who also broke region records.
The school’s three relay teams are also having a speedy season. Doman said that they’re all top seeded going into state, and they may give Viewmont girls the edge they need.
“If all three relay teams win, we have a chance to win the meet,” he said.
For the Viewmont boys, he predicts a spot in the top three. Both the boys and girls teams won this year’s Region 1 championships, and Drew Bonner broke the previous region record for the 500 yard freestyle.
“They’re a little young,” he said. “In a couple of years, they should be really impressive.”
As for the Woods Cross boys, who took second place at this year’s region 6 meet, Doman sees a different avenue to gold.
“They have a bunch of chances to be individual champions,” he said.
For all four teams, the anticipation of getting ready for the big meet has proven infectious.
“I’m excited for both schools,” Doman said. “It should be fun.”