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East, Orem claim 4A swim titles

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Orem's Zach Miller celebrates his win in the men's 100-yard freestyle during the 4A state meet.

Orem’s Zach Miller celebrates his win in the men’s 100-yard freestyle during the 4A state meet.

Jason Olson, Deseret Morning News

PROVO — It was a day of breakthroughs for a pair of powerful squads at the 4A swim championships on Saturday night.

East's girls broke a 28-year drought, claiming the program's first state title since 1979 in commanding fashion. On the boys side, Orem took home the first boys state championship in school history, coming out on top of a tight three-way battle.

East's championship capped off a thrilling meet that saw the Leopards collect wins in nine of the 11 events competed. Led by Swimmer of the Meet Sara Jayne Christiansen, East pulled away from defending champion Timpview, eventually winning 359-281.

"They were aware of Timpview, and they came out and swam fast," said East coach Mark Gray.

East swimmers Winifred Lau (100 fly, 200 free), Shelby Bull (50 free, 100 free) and Alina Fong (500 free) all took home individual titles, with Christiansen taking first in the 200 IM and 100 back, just missing out on her own state records in both events. After the Leopards had wrapped up the win, the icing on the cake came in the final event. Christiansen anchored a dominating win in the 400 freestyle relay, finishing in 3:34.67 and shattering the 19-year-old 4A state record in the event by nearly six seconds.

Timpview put up a valiant battle in defense of its crown, finishing in second behind strong swims from Kanani Roberts, Meagan Stone and McCall Blake. Mountain Crest sophomore Macinzie O'Very powered her team to a third-place finish with a win in the 100-yard breaststroke.

For the boys, Orem sent retiring coach Dan Miller out on a high note, claiming the school's first boys title with 313.5 points, beating out Mountain Crest and Murray, who finished with 288.5 and 272.5 points, respectively.

"They were all business today," said Orem coach Dan Miller. "They knew what needed to be done, and they came to do it. I'm proud of them."

The Tigers claimed each individual honor, with Miller taking home boys coach of the year honors, and senior Brady Wells claiming the Swimmer of the Meet award. It was Wells who clinched the win for Orem with his performance in the 100 breaststroke, posting an All-American standard time of 57.95 seconds and then anchoring the final 400-free relay for the win.

Orem's Zach Miller (100 free) and Andrew Ballejos (100 fly) picked up individual wins, and the Tigers triumphed in both the 200- and 400-freestyle relays. East's Dane Philpot won the 100 back, and Mountain Crest freshman Jake Taylor posted a monster win in the 500 free, pulling his team to within striking distance of Orem.

After the backstroke, Mountain Crest pulled to a short-lived lead with two events to swim. It was then that Orem and Wells stepped it up, taking home the gold trophy and sending Miller out in style.

"This is it. None of it would have happened without my wife, she's the real hero," Miller said. "It's a nice way to go out."