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The City Journals

Juan Diego junior swimmer finally gets his gold

Mar 05, 2019 02:47PM ● By Catherine Garrett

Junior Alex Gustat won the 100 breaststroke title at the 4A state championships Feb. 8–9 at BYU. (Photo courtesy Alex Gustat)

By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]

After two consecutive second-place finishes in the 100 breaststroke at the 4A state championships, Alex Gustat knew he wanted more than silver medals. So, the Juan Diego Catholic High School junior increased his efforts to “double days” where he practiced twice each day while also adding some dryland training to the mix. The emphasis paid off for the school record holder in the event, who touched the wall in 1:00.04, .7 seconds faster than Cedar City’s Reuben Dotson, to place first and claim the gold medal he was after.

“I feel very excited to have won with all that I was trying to do to get first place,” Gustat said. “It still feels unbelievable that I won.”

Head coach John Moran pointed out that Gustat was really sick during the state event and still came out on top. “He did great to push through not feeling well at all,” Moran said. “Our strategy was to have him take it out fast so others couldn’t catch him and it ended up working.”

Gustat also placed fourth in the 100 butterfly, another event he holds the Juan Diego record in after he set the mark at the region meet a week before state. Additionally, the All-State swimmer was part of the third-place 200 freestyle relay team — which also included William Anderson, Ian Pascual and JR Gustat — and the fifth-place medley relay squad with the same lineup.

Juan Diego’s Payton Bouwhuis set the school record in the 500 free on his way to a sixth-place finish at state. “That’s quite a physical challenge and Peyton did great,” Moran said. “He actually beat the school record twice with both of his times.”

Other top finishers for the Region 11 champion boys squad who placed fourth in 4A were JR Gustat (sixth, 100 free; ninth, 200 free), Pascual (sixth, 100 fly; 16th, 100 back); Bouwhuis (eighth, 200 free) and Anderson (15th, 200 IM; 15th, 100 back). The 400 free relay team of Bouwhuis, Ethan Atzet, Nicholas Bradshaw and Cade Novara took 14th.

“The boys did really awesome and I’m really proud of them,” Moran said. “To only have eight boys and take fourth is pretty great.”

On the girls side, senior Abby Whittington, who will swim at Vassar College in New York next year, finished second in the 100 free and third in the 50 free to lead Juan Diego to a 10th-place showing.

“That’s a pretty strong finish from two girls and two relay teams,” Moran said.

The 200 free relay team of Whittington, Morgan Rutledge, Ryan Stolfa and Shavaun Carlisle placed fifth with the same lineup for the 400 free relay placing eighth. Carlisle’s 11th-place showing in the 100 free rounded out the Soaring Eagle squad’s placements at state.