Prep swimming: Skyline surges ahead in state meet
Mountain Crest’s Hailey Pabst also broke a class record in the 200 freestyle.
Published: February 3, 2012 10:54PM
Updated: February 3, 2012 11:52PM
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Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune Swimmers dive into the pool at the start of the 50 yard freestyle during the 4A high school state swimming championships at BYU on Friday.

Provo • So much for the underdog. The story thus far at the Class 4A state swim meet has been Skyline, Skyline, Skyline.

On Day 1 of the championships, the Eagles put on a clinic, showing how a favored team should perform. Both the boys’ and girls’ squads accumulated massive point leads while winning six out of the initial eight races. Furthermore, all Skyline winners shaved time off their season-bests so far.

“We knew we couldn’t just assume we were going to win — we have to stay focused,” said senior Natalie Bennion, who won the 50-yard freestyle. “We act like we’re still chasing someone. I’m really proud of how we did today, though.”

If the Eagles had nerves from being the consensus team to beat, it didn’t show. The girls’ unit was the most dominant team on Friday afternoon, piling up 185.5 points over second-place Woods Cross with 89. The boys had 154 points after Day 1, a healthy step on No. 2 Mountain Crest with 96 points.

Flowing in Skyline’s favor were the favored individual performances of Bennion, Lillian Moore, Travis Norseth and David Amirkhanashvili — all winners. But the Eagles were also boosted by the relays. The girls’ 200-yard medley team won by more than three seconds, and the boys’ overcame the top-seeded Mustangs for a close win in the same event.

In the 200-yard individual medley, Skyline’s best competition was itself. Norseth tired at the finish, but held off friend and teammate Scott Sorensen for first place by just sixth-hundreths of a second.

It was a familiar setup for both of them.

“We’ve been like this for the last six years,” Norseth said. “I was just glad it wasn’t a 201-yard race, because he would’ve won it. I was just thinking, ‘Please, wall, come sooner.’”

Other races were tight, too — particularly one that didn’t feature the Eagles on top of the podium. Mountain Crest’s William Watts edged Shawn Western, of Olympus, in the 200-yard freestyle, winning by just more than seventh-tenths of a second. Both shaved about three seconds off their season-best times.

The prime performance of the day, however, belonged to the Mustangs’ Hailey Pabst, who set a 4A record in the 200-yard freestyle with a winning time of 1:51.33. The sophomore said she could focus more clearly in her second year at state.

“I knew what to expect, and I was able not to worry about the cheers or anything,” she said. “It’s definitely nice to set a record — something to check off the list. Hopefully we can swim that well tomorrow.”

Friday’s winners

Girls’ 200 medley relay• Skyline (1:53.21)

Boys’ 200 medley relay• Skyline (1:39.12)

Girls’ 200 freestyle• Hailey Pabst, Mountain Crest (1:51.33)

Boys’ 200 freestyle• William Watts, Mountain Crest (1:42.07)

Girls’ 200 individual medley• Lillian Moore, Skyline (2:10.53)

Boys’ 200 individual medley• Travis Norseth, Skyline (1:56.08)

Girls’ 50 freestyle• Natalie Bennion, Skyline (24.19)

Boys’ 50 freestyle• David Amirkhanashvili, Skyline (21.86)

Team standings

Girls

1. Skyline (185.5)

2. Woods Cross (89)

3. Olympus (72)

Boys

1. Skyline (154)

2. Mountain Crest (96)

3. Springville (84.5)