The Grand County High School swim team competed in their first meet of the season on Friday, Nov. 3 at the Moab Aquatics Center. Despite missing nearly half their team members, the Red Devils were excited to compete and are looking forward to their next meet, the Cedar City Invitational.
After a month of preparation, the Red Devils swim team got their first chance to step up and race in a dual meet against the Logan High School Grizzlies — and this meet presented the opportunity to examine the team dynamic in a race setting.
“Our girls’ team is quite young,” said coach Brian Pierce, “We’ve got quite a few freshmen and underclassmen.”
There are only two seniors on the team this year — Tyler Moreau and Brooklin Hugentobler. With so many young members, Pierce has been especially focused on technique and team values, in order to set a strong foundation for the rest of the season. His perspective concerning their first meet reflected this sentiment.
“Just as in the past, the swim program is concerned with helping swimmers better themselves and in return this strengthens the team,” Pierce said.
While the opening meet of the season is a good time to gauge that dynamic and skill level, this week may not accurately represent the team’s makeup. Grand County High School enforces a policy in which the sport a student began first must remain their priority throughout the entirety of the season. This means that students who participate in marching band, football or mountain biking must finish their seasons before they begin to attend swim practices or meets. As a result, the swim team was not fully assembled for the first home meet.
The scores reflected this gap: Logan won the girls’ meet by scoring 621 points to Grand County’s 348 points, and was triumphant in the boys’ meet, scoring 628 points to Grand County’s 179 points.
According to Pierce, the team is not discouraged, though.
“We’re not really worried about scores, but we’re focused on getting times to qualify for the state meet,” Pierce said.
Pierce said he is confident the team is off to a good start. Several swimmers set personal records at the meet, an impressive feat this early in the season. One swimmer, junior Mary Kimmerle, set a personal record by 6.4 seconds in the 500-yard freestyle.
As to the dynamic of this year’s team, Pierce said, “They’re all good kids, they get along, and they help motivate each other by working together as a team.”
This year, the team is embracing a new challenge: they will be competing in the 3A state division rather than the 2A division. This means bigger teams and faster competitions are in store for the team.
As to this shift, Pierce said, “We are looking forward to competing in the 3A division this year. We realize this will present some new challenges, but we look forward to the growth the program will provide as we swim at a higher level of competition.”
The team’s next meet, the Cedar City Invitational, will be a good opportunity for the swimmers to get a taste of what they will be up against in the coming season. It will also be the first time this year the entire team will be competing together. Pierce said he is excited to see what the weekend brings — and that he is looking forward to get a better picture of the group as a whole while beginning to evaluate the relative strengths of its swimmers.
“Usually kids swim a little bit faster when they’ve got competition,” he explained. The Red Devils will be competing against 16 other teams, including the 4A team hosting the meet.
The Cedar City Invitational will take place Friday, Nov. 10 and Saturday, Nov. 11 at the Cedar City Aquatic Center.