PROVO — In just her sophomore year of high school, Bountiful High swimmer Elliott Howe has a sparkling resume.
She added to it Saturday at the state swimming championships at Brigham Young University’s newly renovated swimming complex in Provo.
The Braves’ swimmer won the 5A state championship in the women’s 100-yard backstroke with a time of 55.58 seconds, nearly two seconds faster than second-place Rivers Johnson from Corner Canyon.
It isn’t a state record, but it was a good enough time to merit All-American consideration. Howe added a third-place finish in the women’s 50 freestyle. The Braves also had a second-place finish in the women’s 200 medley relay.
Brighton High won the boys state championship and Wasatch won the girls state team title in 5A.
DAVIS FRESHMAN LAURYN HALL WINS TWO GOLD MEDALS
Lauryn Hall didn’t care about technique anymore.
She didn’t expect to win, though her qualifying time for the 50-yard women’s freestyle was just 0.01 seconds behind the top spot held by defending 6A champion Abbie Frazier from Layton High.
“Before I came here I was extremely nervous. I had normal nerves, right, but I had a lot of people come up to me and say try to beat her, do your best,” Hall said.
Then she finished the race and looked up at the new digital scoreboard. Her name had a “1” next to it.
She slapped the pool and couldn’t believe it.
In a breakout performance for her, the Darts freshman Hall edged Frazier, her friend and club swimming teammate, for the 50 freestyle championship.
Later on, she won the 100 freestyle despite a slight injury to her right arm.
Her time of 24.91 seconds is a new 6A state record in the 50, and she was 0.16 seconds faster than Frazier (25.07), who led at the turn and who previously had the state record. Clearfield’s Christina Gillespie finished fourth.
“After that turn, I was like, ‘I need to get this, this is my time to shine, this is my time to get first, this is my time to break the record,’” Hall said.
“I just swung those arms, I didn’t care about technique or anything. I just went as fast as I possibly could.”
As soon as the race was over and they were still in the pool, the two hugged and talked for the entire time they were in the pool.
“I really, really adore Abbie. She’s a wonderful swimmer, she’s a wonderful person, even before the race she texted me and said ‘Hey whatever happens, promise me we’ll stay friends,’” Hall said.
The first gold medal came with what appeared to be a minor cost. When she extended for the wall, she swam into the wall a little too fast and slightly jammed her right arm.
In the first leg of the 100 freestyle later on, she trailed, but retook the lead and then won her second state title race with a time of 55.34 seconds.
The Darts weren’t finished cheering, though.
Senior Tom Mi (48.41) edged Syracuse’s Brandon Denully (48.59) in the men’s 100 freestyle to win his first state championship race to pair with a second-place finish in the 200 freestyle.
Both results were stark improvements from last year, when Mi finished fourth in the 100 and sixth in the 200.
“It’s really an amazing feeling because I’ve been swimming for so long now, seven or eight years competitively,” Mi said. “Every single thing that’s been built up to this moment — going to the gym every day, going to early morning practice at 5:30 every day — it’s all kind of built up to this moment.”
SYRACUSE GIRLS 3RD AS TURNER, NELSON TAKE HOME GOLDS
Syracuse swimmer LynDea Turner has heard her name pronounced either “Lin-DEE” or “Lin-DAY-uh” for the better part of a decade.
It has long since passed the point of bugging the girl named “LIN-dee.” Nothing really bugged her as she stormed to a gold medal, beating teammate Brylee Weaver in the women’s 100 backstroke as the Titans took third place as a team.
“I was super happy for me and my friends to do so well in this, it’s probably one of the best swims I’ve ever swam,” she said.
The Titans finished with 192 points, behind second-place Lone Peak. Both were a couple miles behind champions American Fork.
Turner’s preliminary time in the backstroke was the fastest by just 0.02 seconds. It was closer than the margin she had on the rest of 6A coming into the state championships.
“I was kind of nervous, but it was like a good nervous. I kind of expected it to be really hard because I’ve been swimming with these competitors for over 10 years ... and I knew it would be hard, and I didn’t let it faze me too much,” Turner said.
Syracuse’s Samantha Nelson won the women’s 100 butterfly with a time of 59.36 seconds. She beat Lone Peak’s Summer Shreeve, who bested Nelson in the same event last year.
Nelson’s time at the state meet this year was nearly a full second better than her second-place finish last year. As a team, the Titans had a plethora of medalists Saturday.
Turner was second in the women’s 200 IM, the Titans were second in the women’s 200 medley relay, second in the 200 free relay and Weaver took third in the 100 freestyle.
It wasn’t just the women’s team celebrating. Freshman Kanyon Page marked his first state tournament with a win in the men’s 100 backstroke, finishing with a time of 53.59 seconds, more than a full second faster than second-place Kyle Snowder of Hillcrest (54.74). He also took third in the men’s 200 freestyle.
WEBER BOYS SURPASS EXPECTATIONS, FINISH 3RD
Weber’s Tyler Ridley took second place in the men’s 100 breaststroke and was 0.52 seconds off first.
Caleb Richardson finished third in the men’s 100 butterfly (52.47 seconds) and the Warriors were third in the men’s 200 medley relay.
Ridley and Richardson, as well as several top-five finishes in other races — including a fourth place from Michael Trejo in the 100 backstroke — helped the Weber boys to a third-place finish with 176 points.
“I was pleased,” Weber head coach Bill Cruff said. “We had more medalists than we’ve ever had, so they just swam really well yesterday and then again today.”
“I knew we had a good group, but I was hoping for fifth or sixth, but I never expected with the way they did,” Cruff said.
Layton’s Trevor Arnes was third in the 100 breaststroke. Northridge’s Lindsey Cozad took third in the women’s 100 butterfly and fourth in the 100 backstroke.
Davis High was second in the women’s 400 freestyle relay and third in both the men’s and women’s 200 free relay.
Davis finished fifth as a team and Syracuse sixth in men’s competition. The Davis women finished sixth and Weber took ninth.