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High school swimming: Defending champions looking strong as swimming competitions get underway

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The Sky View girls and Viewmont boys were crowed as 5A champions last year, respectively, and it shouldn't come as a surprise if either program repeats this season. While the Sky View girls team was a bit of a surprise — coming from behind to topple top programs such as Brighton and West, the Viewmont boys team won its second straight state championship.

Both Sky View and Viewmont are again anticipated to be two of the top programs for the 2016-17 season in the boys and girls competitions.

"Sky View is really building a great program up there and Viewmont has established themselves as one of the best programs in the state," said Joe Pereira, who serves as president of the Utah Swimming Coaches Association along with coaching Skyline. "From the early results, it's clear both teams will again be competitive this year, and it won't be a surprise if either team repeats as champions."

Top swimmers for the Vikings early season in the season include sophomore Sefilina Maile, senior Zachary Julien and senior Zachary Sannar, while junior Megan Brimhall and senior Alexa Walters look to lead the Bobcats, among others.

But although both Sky View and Viewmont look strong, they're not necessarily the favorites, according to Pereira.

"I think Brighton has a really strong team and view them as probably the team to beat this year in 5A. Brighton is always very deep, and that's obviously the big key. Brighton is going to be tough to beat," he said. "There's a number of other quality programs in 5A, but I think the top three — at least right now — are Brighton, Sky View and then Viewmont, in that order."

4A

Pereira will be coaching the favorites in both the boys and girls competitions this year in 4A, as Skyline blew away the competition last year in overwhelming fashion. While the Eagles will be strong again, repeating may be tough to do this time around.

"We lost some good swimmers, and while I think we're still a strong team, I don't think we're as strong as we were last year," Pereira said. "We'll have some tough competition — particularly from Highland, which is a program that is really going strong. And then there's Cyprus, which is really making good strides with what they do."

Other top 4A programs in recent years have included Wasatch and Timpview.

"The Timpview boys team is going to be very strong and certainly a team that could be there at the end," Pereira said. "It should be a good year of competition in 4A.

Top swimmers in the early season are Maple Mountain's Makayla Cazier and Kearns' Lily Plaudis, along with Timpview's Josh Skabelund and Olympus' Talmage Corey.

3A

Park City has overwhelmed its competition in 3A, and no one will be surprised if the Miners repeat as both boys and girls champions in 2017.

The Miners are led by top swimmers such as Roslyn Selznick, Joelle Hess, Kathryn Hale, Cole Peterson and Quentin Tyler.

"Park City is going to be strong again, but there's some other programs — particularly those Saint George teams — who could surprise some people," Pereira said. "Cedar is a very strong program, and they return some good swimmers there."

2A

The 2A competition is anyone's guess, with North Summit returning as boys champ and Grand looking to repeat on the girls side.

Top swimmers from the 2A ranks are Grand's Alexa Pierce, Millard's Drew Roper, Maeser's Tony Puertas and North Summit's Eisley Scholes.

The state swimming championships will be held in February at Brigham Young University.

Email: bgurney@desnews.com

Twitter: @BrandonCGurney