Provo • While the orange and blue swim caps of Brighton and Bingham saw their familiar places on the podium, it was Alta junior Brianna Francis who stole the show on day one of the Class 5A state swim meet.
Francis teamed with Hailey Wilkinson, Alicia May and Taylor Coffey to capture relay gold in the 200-yard medley relay. Less than an hour later, Francis swam the fasted 200 individual medley in Utah high school history.
“It feels amazing that all of our hard work paid off,” said Francis. “I worked hard for that record and I deserve it.”
The Bingham girls didn’t win any of the four events contested Friday, but they gathered 34 points in the relay and 43 combined points in the 200 freestyle to garner a 120-96 advantage over Brighton.
“Tonight our girls swam out of their minds,” said coach Andrea Bouwhuis.
Any questions about the Brighton boys’ dominance were answered Friday with a relay gold in the 200-yard medley relay and a dominant swim from junior Long Gutierrez, who captured an individual gold in the 200-yard IM. The Bengals scored 54 team points in the individual medley and lead a surprising Cottonwood team 155-82. The Colts swam to a third-place finish in the medley relay and got an individual gold when senior Alex Bowcut won the 200 free by more than four seconds.
“We’re not a traditional power at Cottonwood, but I just have to give credit to my coach Brian Sorenson for making that 200 free feel easy,” said Bowcut.
Friday’s events culminated with the speed races, in which Kearns senior Sam Huff repeated as 50 free champ, while Riverton freshman Abbey Sorenson captured gold in the same event.
Action resumes Saturday at noon.
Day 1 team scores
1. Brighton 155
2. Cottonwood 82
3. Bingham 77
4. Kearns 64
5. Lehi 61
1. Bingham 120
2. Brighton 96
3. Lone Peak 95
4. Alta 93
5. Riverton 72
Alta coach Patrick Thurman has a unique connection to the 200 individual medley relay state record. He was an assistant at East in 2006 when Sara Jayne Christiansen set the record. Thurman watched Friday as Alta junior Brianna Francis swam the race just over a half-second faster.
In one of the closest races Friday, Lone Peak junior Samm Scoresby captured the girls’ 200 freestyle by 0.37 seconds over Bingham’s Kirsten Mathewson.
Breaking records at Brighton is tough. The Bengal quartet of Long Gutierrez, Ryan Brinkerhoff, Kyle Spicer and Tanner Wiest swam a 1:36.04 in Friday’s 200 medley relay, good enough for All-American consideration, but not good enough to eclipse the 1:35.89 set by the 2011 Brighton team.