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High school swimming: Mustangs, Grizzlies go after first-ever 4A swim titles

PROVO — One of the things that makes state swimming so entertaining — and so exasperating at times — is the fact that everything happens all at once.

All the things that swimmers and coaches do from the start of any given high school swimming season until the end of it revolve around one thing — the annual state meet — and when that all-important event finally arrives, all the drama and all the theatre plays out over just two days.

Those preceding statements ring particularly true when considering this year's 4A state swimming meet, which will take place this weekend at the Richards Building on the campus of BYU.

Simply put, there are a plethora of interesting storylines waiting to unfold tonight and Saturday.

Among them, Mountain Crest senior Jake Taylor, already the state record-holder in half of the state's eight individual events, will attempt to assault two more records and cement his legacy as one of the state's best high school swimmers of all time. Taylor's team, Mountain Crest, will look to dethrone two-time defending champ Springville in what promises to be an absorbing team race on the boys side. And on the girls side, Logan will attempt to break through and win what would be its first girls state swimming title in school history.

The action gets underway late this afternoon when the opening eight events of the 4A meet are held at 4 p.m. The final 14 events will begin on Saturday at 11 a.m.

Taylor was a hugely gifted swimmer when he burst on to the high school scene four years ago, but at the time, the breaststroke was — by far — his weakest event.

However, he's immensely improved in it since then, and he surprised everyone, including himself, when he went :58.87 in the 100 breast earlier in the season. That paved the way for him to decide to chase legendary Timpview star David Lundberg's 21-year-old record in the event at this weekend's meet. Lundberg's record is a :57.47.

Taylor will also be attempting to break a 13-year-old state record in the 50 free.

Additionally, Taylor will do what he can to help spur Mountain Crest to what would be its first boys swimming state title in school history.

Based on seed times, Mountain Crest enters the meet with a 317-271 lead over Springville, but that advantage is perhaps slightly inflated because of the relays.

Mountain Crest nonetheless should perhaps be considered a slight favorite over Springville, but it could go either direction this weekend.

Besides Taylor, Timmy Bates and Tyler Keller should be particularly influential figures for Mountain Crest, while stellar senior Calvin Clark will lead the way for a battle-tested Springville team to follow behind.

On the girls side, Logan enters this weekend's meet as a fairly big favorite to win on the girls side. The Grizzlies, who have never previously won a girls state swimming title in school history, hold a projected lead of 285-230 over Olympus, with Timpview lurking behind with 194 points.

Logan, with senior leader Janessa Gammill anchoring a solid group, wasn't tapered at all for region and should swim extremely fast this weekend. If that happens, the Grizzlies should have too much firepower, with Olympus and Timpview battling for second.

e-mail: drasmussen@desnews.com

4a state meet