‘Happy to be back in the water’: Region 9 swim teams return to competition after nearly 1-month hiatus

CEDAR CITY — The Cedar High girls and the Desert Hills boys were the top-scoring teams at the Cedar Invitational swim meet staged Friday night at the Cedar City Aquatics Center.

It was the first meet involving Region 9 teams to be held in nearly a month. Just a couple days after the Greg Fernley Invitational in St. George opened the Region 9 swim season Nov. 6-7, a statewide mandate calling for a two-week suspension of all school extracurricular activities due to COVID-19 concerns went into effect, during which even practices were disallowed. That moratorium was then followed by the Thanksgiving holiday.

“The swimmers were all happy to be back in the water and participating in competitions again,” Cedar head coach Megan Moses said after the meet. “Although observing COVID-19 protocols complicates functions, we are happy to comply to keep the kids swimming and active.”

As part of the safety procedures, Friday’s meet was held in a single evening rather than being spread out over two days. Additionally, there were no fans in the stands, as attendance was limited to athletes, coaches and officials. Also, swimmers weren’t allowed to congregate near the poolside, except when they were awaiting their next race or receiving feedback from coaches post-race.

The five-team meet featured swimmers from Cedar, Desert Hills, Crimson Cliffs, Dixie and Pine View high schools.

Cedar Invitational swim meet, Cedar City Aquatics Center, Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 4, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

In addition to sweeping all three relay events, Cedar High’s girls won four of the eight individual races. Cedar sophomore Aspen Simper won both the 200 freestyle and the 500 freestyle.

Cedar also had the fastest three times in the 50 free, a race that attracted 57 athletes. Junior Hannah Edwards won the 50 free with a time of 27.64 seconds, edging freshman teammate Olivia Price, who finished in 27.64. Abigail Stratton of Cedar was close behind with a third-place time of 27.94.

Also for Cedar, Gracie Engst, a senior, placed first in the 100 butterfly and second in the 100 breast.

Crimson Cliffs senior Kyleigh Messinger won both of her individual races, taking first in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:27.89 and later winning the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:04.00.

Additionally, sophomore Emma Brown of Desert Hills placed first in the 100 free with a time of 1:00.13. She also took second in the 100 back. Cedar’s Natalie Moses, a sophomore, placed second in the 100 free with a time of 1:04.35.

Lucy Andelin, a junior at Desert Hills, won the 100 breast with a time of 1:17.76.

Cedar Invitational swim meet, Cedar City Aquatics Center, Cedar City, Utah, Dec. 4, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

In the boys competition, defending 4A state champion Desert Hills won six of the eight individual races and one of the three relays. 

Desert Hills freshman Maxwell Morley got the Thunder off to a strong start by winning the 200 free in a time of 2:01.56. Shortly after, sophomore teammate Troy Eggers won the 200 IM with a time of 2:14.57.

Desert Hills senior Samuel McConkie won both of his individual events, placing first in the 100 free with a time of 54.33 and first in the 100 back with a time of 1:00.38.

Also for Desert Hills, sophomore Kade Bethers won the 100 fly in a time of 58.15. Junior teammate Dallas Schimbeck placed second in that race with a time of 1:01.22. Schimbeck also won the 100 breast in 1:10.79.

Two juniors from Dixie High finished in the top two spots in the 50 freestyle, with Ned Hill winning in a time of 23.35, closely followed by teammate Dusty Hart, who touched the wall in 23.99. Also for Dixie, freshman David Leon-Moreno placed second in the 100 back. The Flyers also won the 200-yard freestyle relay.

Crimson Cliffs sophomore Ben Haws placed second in both the 200 IM and the 100 breast. Also for the Mustangs, freshman Mackey Cook took second in the 500 free. The Mustangs also won the 200 medley relay at the beginning of the meet.

Cedar’s top male swimmer was sophomore Tanner Dodds, who placed first in the 500 free with a time of 5:21.95. Dodds also placed second in the race immediately before that one, the 100 free, posting a time of 55.48.

Girls team scores

  1. Cedar 404
  2. Crimson Cliffs 377
  3. Desert Hills 283
  4. Dixie 154
  5. Pine View 149

Boys team scores 

  1. Desert Hills 428
  2. Crimson Cliffs 283
  3. Dixie 268
  4. Cedar 201
  5. Pine View 119

Also over the weekend, the other three teams in Region 9 — Canyon View, Hurricane and Snow Canyon — competed in separate dual meets at Southern Utah University’s pool. Canyon View faced Hurricane on Friday night, and Snow Canyon swam against Judge Memorial on Saturday.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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