A one, two finish for the Cottonwood High girls and boys swim teams at state finals
Mar 07, 2018 02:28PM
By Carl Fauver
The Cottonwood High School boys swim team celebrates their second place finish at the 5A state finals. (Ron Lockwood)
One rout and one cliffhanger at the Utah 5A State Swimming Finals proved to be a good news/bad news split for Cottonwood High School teams. While the Colt girls ran away with their state title—by one of the widest margins of victory ever—the CHS boys saw a 9-point lead, after the first day of competition, turn into a 33.5 point loss, on day two.
“This was such a fun and dynamic group to coach; I couldn’t be happier,” said Cottonwood head swimming coach Ron Lockwood. “The boys came up a little short, but second place is still a great finish. The girls had a championship goal all season and met it. That was awesome.”
After placing second in state a year ago, the Colt girls led this year’s 5A finals from start to finish, crushing second place Skyline, 320 to 200. On the boys’ side, the Colts led Brighton 91-82 after day one, but fell to the Bengals on day two, with a final score of 287 to 253.5.
For the Cottonwood girls it was their first state swim title since claiming back-to-back championships in 1980 and 1981. For the Colt boys, you also have to go all the way back to 1980 to find the only team from the school to place higher than this year’s group. The boys and girls both claimed titles in 1980, a double dip they were hoping to repeat this season.
“I was pretty confident all season, if the girls swam the way I knew they could, we had a great shot,” Lockwood added. “With the boys, I always knew it would be much more of a challenge. But hey, Brighton loses the whole house next year (as seniors graduate), while we’re only losing five. So things look pretty good for our boys next year.”
Speaking of “losing the house,” that’s what the CHS girls will be up against a year from now, as they graduate nine seniors, including possibly the best high school swimmer to ever come out of the state of Utah.
As expected, Rhyan White finished first in every race she swam at the state finals, while also being named Utah’s high school female swimmer of the year, for the fourth straight year. She won the 100 butterfly by nearly four full seconds and the 100 backstroke by more than four seconds.
Her state championship relay teams won the 200-yard medley on day one and the 400-yard freestyle on day two.
Other key contributors on the Cottonwood girls team included Madison Cutler, Makayla Harris, Jessica Lloyd, Katelyn Price, Quinn Stephenson and Emma Walker.
“It’s such a good feeling to finish my high school career with the state championship,” White said. “I made so many friends through the team. And I’m also excited to see where I go next (in my swimming career).”
White is not actually a student of Cottonwood High School, but instead attends the Academy for Math, Engineering & Science (AMES) charter school housed within CHS. One of her AMES classmates was also one of the outstanding swimmers on the Colt boys team.
Like White, AMES senior Christian Simon also swam four years for the Colts, starting as a freshman. In leading his team to their second-place finish, Simon placed first in three of his four races: the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyles and 400 freestyle relay.
Another triple state titlist for the boys was Blayze Kimble (100 breaststroke, 200 individual medley and 400 freestyle relay).
Other key contributors for the Cottonwood boys included Martin Anders, Colin Dailey and Jacob Ricci.
“It’s weird—it just doesn’t feel like it’s over,” Simon said, just days after the state finals. “High school swimming is so much fun; a little less stressful than club swimming.”
Simon and White also both swim on Lockwood’s Wasatch Front Fish Market club team. And they each have one more thing in common as they will swim collegiately next year, White at Alabama and Simon at Claremont McKenna, a private liberal arts college 35 miles east of Los Angeles.
Rhyan plans to leave for the southeast early in the summer—and may even miss her AMES graduation—to attend a shortened summer semester in Tuscaloosa, before returning for a couple of swim meets. Christian plans the more traditional college move at the end of the summer.
“I’m proud of both of them and all of our swimmers,” Lockwood concluded. “They were all good kids who worked hard to achieve our goals.”