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High school swimming: Bengals' Robby Miner breaks state 500 free record

PROVO — It was the record that, quite simply, no one could beat.

That much seemed evident after Snow Canyon superstar Joe Beutler, who's since graduated and gone on to Columbia University, put in herculean efforts last year and the year before to try and conquer Rick Morley's 1977 state record in the 500 free, only to ultimately come up short.

When Beutler, one of the state's top distance swimmers of all time, couldn't do it five years after former Skyline star Brooks Felton also came up heart-breakingly short, it seemed as though Morley's time of 4:34.08 had stood the test of time and would continue to stand for years to come.

But just 12 months later, Brighton senior Robby Miner, who is close friends with Beutler, did what few people believed could be done — he conquered the state's oldest record.

Conjuring up a truly phenomenal performance, Miner beat Morley's previously unbeatable record at the 5A state meet on Saturday.

Pounding out a high tempo from start to finish, Miner touched the wall with a time of 4:33.00 to best Morley's record by more than a second and permanently etch his place into state swimming lore.

"I guess you look at the people who have missed it," Brighton coach Todd Etherington said when asked to describe how hard Morley's record has been to break. "Brooks Felton missed it. Joe Beutler missed it. It's stood for 32 years, and I think that by itself shows that it takes something very special."

On Saturday, that's what Miner was.

Miner had previously gone a 4:36 in the 500 free, but that was at a sectional meet where he was competing at a much lower elevation and against much faster swimmers.

For all intents and purposes, Miner was completely alone once he dove in the pool on Saturday, but that didn't stop him from doing what no one else has been able to do the past 33 years.

Miner trained during with Beutler at Cottonwood Heights over the summer for many years, and Beutler once made a comment to Miner that he never forgot.

"When I was kid, he once said that I'd be better than him, and it's like, 'There's no way that I would be better than him," said Miner.

In the end, though, Miner ultimately became what Beutler predicted he would be.

Besides his epic performance in the 500 free, Miner also set a 5A record in the 200 free this weekend to finish as the 5A boys Swimmer of the Meet, finishing with 11 more points (299-288) than defending champ McKay King of American Fork.

"I really felt like this is the best meet I ever had," said Miner, who's signed with BYU.

On the girls side, Kim Welch of Lone Peak won the 100 fly and 100 back and scored enough points (287) to edge Brighton's Amanda Barrett (277) and repeat as 5A girls Swimmer of the Year.

Welch, who was mostly rested, hopes to go faster at the upcoming regional meet, but the BYU-signee nonetheless did what she needed to do to again finish as 5A's top individual swimmer.

"Oh yeah," said Welch when asked if she wanted to repeat. "I watch all through the season the power points and the rankings, and I knew it was gonna be close. But I wasn't gonna let it slip away. After having it once, I wasn't gonna let it slip by."

E-mail:drasmussen@desnews.com