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A reason to be optimistic

Spartans' wins against 5A swimmers make Murray a favorite for 4A crown

MURRAY — When Murray hosted a quad meet featuring three of 5A's strongest swim teams, few really expected the Spartans to walk out of the Park Center swimming pool with wins.

Yet, even swimming against traditionally powerful schools like Skyline and Kearns, the Spartans girls team did exactly that and gave their coach a reason to be optimistic.

"We won and that was against some pretty good teams," Murray coach Larry Swim said. "So that shows me we have something to look forward to."

The Spartans feature a mixture of returning veterans along with several young swimmers that Swim said will make Murray a very competitive team.

Seniors Melissa McBride and Amanda Smith are two of the girls swimmers the Spartans are counting on to provide leadership as well as points in competition. Smith is an all-around swimmer that will see time in the pool during freestyle, breaststroke and individual medley races. McBride is a freestyle specialist.

Others being counted on to lift Murray include Natalie Robinson, Megan Doherty, Jessica Young and Mindy Simmons.

"We just need to have some youngsters step up and score some points in the big meets," Swim said. "We'll improve on the girls side. It's just going to take some time."

The boys side is also looking good. A year after finishing second in the state meet, the Spartans are certain to be one of the favorites for the 4A crown. With strong programs in Utah County having moved up to 5A and defending 4A champ Logan dropping down to 3A, Murray suddenly finds a little less competition.

"We should be fairly competitive," Swim said. "We've got most of our guys back and we took second last year with them. That's pretty good now that realignment has changed things up."

Logan Andrews and Anthony Lindon finished second and third in state last year in the butterfly and figure to be among the best in the state again this year. Tyler Johnson (200 and 500 freestyle) will be a dependable swimmer as will Ethan Thomson (backstroke) and Nate Ruben.

"I thought our times were really very good for this early in the year," Swim said. "We beat Kearns and that was surprising."

Swim said the Spartans may not have many superstar swimmers, but they have a lot of 'pretty good' swimmers.

"Depth is probably our biggest strength," he said. "We may not win an event. But we can enter four people in each race and my second, third and fourth guys are the key for us. We've got a lot of swimmers that will help us out."