CEDAR CITY – Swimmers from all the Region 9 schools came together at the Cedar City Aquatic Center to compete for the region championship Friday and Saturday.
The Cedar Redmen took first in the boys championship by half a point, while the Thunder found themselves on the losing end of the half-point difference. Dixie took third.
Cedar head coach Richard Coston was happy to get the title, and stressed the importance of each swimmer on the team.
“This is a very good region, all the teams in it have great swimmers. It’s fun to swim against them,” he said. “(Winning by half a point) means that somebody tied for 16th place. Sometimes they’ll swim in a race and they’ll think ‘my contribution isn’t very good.’ Sixteenth place is one point. You have to get the kids to think about that. Everybody’s valuable on the team, and they mean something to all of us.”
Cedar swimmer Garrett Dotson broke a school record in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:01.54. That race was swept by Cedar as brothers Felix and Leon Weingartner took second and third, respectively.
“I’m just absolutely thrilled with (the meet). I wasn’t expecting those kinds of drops (in times), and it happened, so I’m excited about state,” Dotson said. “That race (the 100-yard breaststroke), there’s no words. I wasn’t expecting that, and it came. I hope to do the same at state.”
Dixie and Snow Canyon head coach Tamra Lemmon expected Dixie to take third, and now is looking forward to her swimmers at state and the possibilities of them winning a state championship.
“Dixie is so much smaller, as far as the number of people that we have, than Desert Hills and Cedar, and I don’t mean that to take away from them, they did a great job,” Lemmon said. “I was really proud of us, given what we had to work with. I think everyone swam really well. We like to say we have quality and not quantity. We did what we could for what we had.”
Next up for the Region 9 boys is the state championships at Brigham Young University Feb. 10 and 11.
“We need to do a taper, where they regain their strength. We didn’t even do a taper, so I think the kids will get better,” Coston said.
Dotson said: “(I’m going to do) the four things: Taper, start resting building up muscle; Shave, it sounds awkward, but it really helps; A lot of hope and prayer; And take state.”
Desert Hills girls finally claim region title
The Desert Hills’ girls claimed the region title with a 60-point win over Cedar, while Dixie found its way to third place again.
DH swimmer Taylor Porter was glad to finally get that region title after losing to Cedar every year of her career until now.
“I’m so pumped because, at the beginning of the season, my coach (Dani Caldwell) asked me what my goal was for the season,” Porter said. “My goal was to help my team win region, and I knew that was far-reaching because Cedar has always won it, always. We’ve lost by two points in the past. It was just so amazing for us to win and have my goal come true, because I have worked really hard for it.”
Trident head coach Dani Caldwell was excited about all three of her teams (Pine View, Hurricane and Desert Hills), and is looking forward to what they all can do at state in two weeks.
“I’m impressed and happy for the kids. Pine View, Hurricane and Desert Hills all swam faster than I was expecting them to go, especially considering the varsity team hasn’t tapered at all,” she said. “They swam crazy fast and the energy and the enthusiasm just blew the roof off. That will give them a lot of confidence going into state. The last two weeks are hard. We’ve got two more weeks of really tough training before we can be done. It’s mentally tough, but I think this will motivate them through the next two weeks.”
Dixie’s Alina Barnes won the 100-yard freestyle race by .04 of a second, and she is hoping to win a few events at state to cap off the season.
“When I first finished, I thought Kristen (Gross from Cedar) had won, because everyone from Cedar was freaking out. Then I looked up at the clock and saw the first place by my lane, so I just kind of freaked out,” she said. “Right now, I’m ranked first in the 200 freestyle, so I’m hoping to keep that and stay there. I want to break school records and take first in the 500 freestyle too.”
The girls will now travel to the state championships at BYU Feb. 10 and 11.
“We’re definitely going to taper. We’re just ready to go at it and hopefully we have the same results as we did today,” Desert Hills’ Abigail McCoy said.
Caldwell said: “We’re going to work them hard this week, taper them next week. Just try to get as many as we can to the podium. Working a lot on relays and relay exchanges is going to be a priority. Relays can be very strong and you get double points for relays. I think that’s what did it for the teams here, was their relays came together and powered through it.”
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