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(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Pleasant Grove's McKay Ellis competes in the 100 Yard Butterfly at the 5A State Swimming Meet, held at BYU in Provo, Saturday February 15, 2014.
Prep swimming: American Fork’s Okelberry wins in nailbiter
5A swimming » After sleepless nights leading up to finale, Okelberry prevails in 100 free by just 0.07 seconds.
First Published Feb 15 2014 07:23 pm • Last Updated Feb 16 2014 11:27 am

Provo • American Fork swimmer Steven Okelberry took the long step down from the lofty perch of the top of the podium and reflected on the last few anxiety-filled nights, which had been populated with visions of disaster.

He took a deep breath and exhaled. There had been no reason to worry, after all, and the medal he wore proudly on his neck was proof of that. Okelberry won the 100-yard freestyle in the Saturday’s Class 5A state swimming meet, with a time of 47.10 seconds.

At a glance

5A team results


1. Viewmont, 305

2. Lone Peak, 293

3. Brighton, 239

4. West, 205

5. Bingham, 174


1. Brighton, 248

2. Lehi, 219

3. Lone Peak, 211

4. Viewmont, 210

5. Herriman, 177

5A individual results

Girls’ 100-yard butterfly

1. Katie Smith, Lone Peak, 56.05

2. Autumn Wolfgram, West, 57.09

3. Hannah Hansen, Lehi, 58.84

4. Grace Goddard, West, 59.61

5. Marah Smith, Viewmont, 1:00.32

Boys’ 100-yard butterfly

1. Jonathan Shawgo, Westlake, 51.79

2. Brian O’Neal, Brighton, 52.88

3. Hunter Neal, Copper Hills, 53.65

4. Parker Wiest, Brighton, 54.78

5. Christian Hogan, Viewmont, 54.80

Girls’ 100-yard freestyle

1. Claire Jackson, Hunter, 53.55

2. Maddie Christensen, Riverton, 54.91

3. Emma Fruehan, Lone Peak, 55.10

4. Kelly Burnham, Viewmont, 55.93

5. Jentry McGregor, Westlake, 55.96

Boys’ 100-yard freestyle

1. Steven Okelberry, American Fork, 47.10

2. Regie Topham, Herriman, 47.17

3. Brock Harries, Brighton, 47.57

4. Andrew Anderson, Cottonwood, 48.37

5. Aaron Cookson, Pleasant Grove, 48.98

Girls’ 500-yard freestyle

1. Samantha Patterson, Lone Peak, 5:20.50

2. Sam Buker, American Fork, 5:21.55

3. Grace Goddard, West, 5:25.45

4. Katy Daggett, Brighton, 5:30.27

5. Madi Ramos, Viewmont, 5:31.16

Boys’ 500-yard freestyle

1. Ethan Pollock, American Fork, 4:41.21

2. Drew Bonner, Viewmont, 4:48.30

3. Kyle Darling, Hunter, 4:51.00

4. Jacob Bushman, Riverton, 4:51.93

5. Kade Hunter, Lone Peak, 4:55.59

Girls’ 200-yard freestyle relay

1. Viewmont, 1:40.88

2. Hunter, 1:43.03

3. Westlake, 1:43.44

4. Lone Peak, 1:44.55

5. Brighton, 1:45.05

Boys’ 200-yard freestyle relay

1. Brighton, 1:28.35

2. Lone Peak, 1:29.77

3. Herriman, 1:30.21

4. Lehi, 1:30.97

5. Hunter, 1:32.13

Girls’ 100-yard backstroke

1. Abbey Sorensen, Riverton, 56.97

2. Amelia Wolfgram, West, 58.12

3. Elise Struthers, Lehi, 59.76

4. Grace Kroll, Bingham, 1:00.48

5. Natalie Davis, Lone Peak, 1:01.22

Boys’ 100-yard backstroke

1. Levi Lassig, Herriman, 53.02

2. Tyler Barrett, Brighton, 54.58

3. William Purdy, West, 55.60

4. Lex Clark, Brighton, 56.03

5. Ty Johnson, Lehi, 56.24

Girls’ 100-yard breaststroke

1. Mariah Gassaway, Viewmont, 1:04.23

2. Hannah Hansen, Lehi, 1:05.29

3. McKenna Gassaway, Viewmont, 1:05.95

4. Ciera Orr, Bingham, 1:08.61

5. Sam Buker, American Fork, 1:10.92

Boys’ 100-yard breaststroke

1. Parker Freeman, Lone Peak, 59.79

2. Jonah Simon, Cottonwood, 1:01.05

3. Tyler Blackburn, Lehi, 1:01.47

4. Spencer Dew, Lone Peak, 1:01.69

5. Donovan Feist, Herriman, 1:02.32

Girls’ 400-yard freestyle relay

1. West, 1:37.09

2. Lone Peak, 3:38.54

3. Viewmont, 3:40.53

4. Bingham, 3:45.93

5. American Fork, 3:46.96

Boys’ 400-yard freestyle relay

1. Brighton, 3:15.66

2. Lone Peak, 3:18.33

3. Lehi, 3:19.88

4. American Fork, 3:20.27

5. Viewmont, 3:21.00

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"Sitting in bed the nights and mornings before this, my mind just goes racing," Okelberry said. "I’m super-paranoid, super-nervous."

Despite the result that ended up in his favor, there had been good cause for Okelberry’s anxiety. He had the highest seed time of the eight swimmers competing in the event’s final heat, but less than a half-second separated him from the fifth-highest seed.

One slip-up — even a minor one — and Okelberry’s dreams of capturing his first state title would be dashed. But instead of catastrophe, Okelberry found victory. He touched the wall 0.07 seconds faster than Herriman’s Regie Topham, who finished second.

As he stood on the starting block before the race, Okelberry found calmness in the words of his coach. And when it was over, he’d proved his coach right.

"My coach said, ‘Everyone else was going to drop time, but you’re going to drop more,’" Okelberry said. "I took that and decided I was going to go my best time and if I won, that’d be awesome."

With the race as close as it was, Okelberry did not know what to expect when he looked at the scoreboard immediately after touching the wall.

Euphoria overwhelmed his senses when he saw that he had won.

"It’s the greatest feeling in the world," said Okelberry, adding that he’s already looking forward to defending his title next year as a senior. "Seeing everyone in the other lanes super close to me and then looking up and seeing I barely out-touched them is probably the greatest feeling ever. … It’s nice having that feeling of accomplishment."

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