BOISE — After last year’s state swim meet was held virtually due to COVID-19, area swimmers were determined to perform their best and with good results at this weekend’s Idaho High School Swimming State Championships at the Boise West YMCA and Aquatic Center.

Official results were not available until early this week, but here’s a recap of the action.

In Saturday’s finals, Gavin Dustin of Skyline met his goal of setting a new state meet record in the 200 freestyle for the third year in a row, bringing home a state title in the event, as well as in the 500 freestyle.

“I was a little nervous because, coming into this, I wasn’t even seeded first in the 200,” Dustin said. “But it feels really good to have won three years in a row.”

Dustin’s teammate, sophomore Caleb Daniel, also brought home a championship medal, this one in the boys’ 200 individual medley. Daniel finished second in the event, but due to the first-place finisher getting disqualified for an illegal move, Daniel was awarded the championship. In a twist of fate, he experienced the other side of the situation when he finished first in the 100 backstroke, but this time he was disqualified.

Besides the individual event wins, Dustin and Daniel joined teammates Samual Peterson and Jonah Burns to bring home a second-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay, with Peterson and Elias Couch helping clinch a fourth-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay. The Skyline boys finished third overall in the 4A team standings.

Even with the return of live competition, the meet was anything but normal.

Due to venue restrictions on crowd sizes, the Idaho High School Activities Association made the decision to not allow any parent spectators. The meet was also split into separate sessions for boys and girls, which made rest times between events short and the two-day meet long. Athletes not competing in the session were kept in a “holding room” -a large gym with a few tables and chairs-while their teammates participated. Parents hovered outside of open doors in an attempt to catch a brief glimpse of swimmers or hear their names announced over the loudspeaker.

Even with the challenges, area swimmers finished off the season with medals.

The Skyline girls had a strong showing with Ariana Burgan and Taylor Johnson both qualifying for finals and bringing home sixth-place awards in individual events. Burgan and Johnson swam both the 200 and 400 freestyle relays with teammates Tiana Carbajal and Jaelyn Gates, finishing fifth and third places, respectively. The Skyline girls finished fourth overall in 4A.

In 5A, Thunder Ridge’s Holton Bundy went into the weekend with one goal: qualify for finals in the 100 breaststroke and hopefully bring home the first-place finish.

“You just have to trust the training,” he said leading up to the meet. Trust he did, breaking the state meet record with a time of 58.99 seconds in the first heat of prelims. The record stood for all of one minute, as Timberline’s Max Wolf set a new record in Heat 2 of the event. Bundy and Wolf fought it out in finals, with Bundy taking second by a stroke. Bundy also took home second-place in the 200 individual medley, with teammate Tayson Jones bringing home a fifth-place medal in the 100 butterfly.

After winning 5A Districts, the Idaho Falls Tigers had high hopes for state. Coach Liz Grimes’s son Ethan Grimes battled for first in the 200 backstroke, finishing a reach behind Boise’s Ben Stucky for second place. Tiger Casey Adams placed fifth in the 200 freestyle and sixth in the 500 freestyle, with Zane Herway placing fifth in the 100 freestyle.

The boy’s medley relay was another hotly contested race, with the top four seed times all within one second of each other. In an intensely close race, Idaho Falls and Thunder Ridge both finished well, with the Tigers Grimes and Herway joining Steve Drysdale, Kotter Lybbert, to place third in the event, and the Titans Bundy and Jones, joining Gary Southwick, and Quinn Smith to place fifth. Thunder Ridge placed second in the 200 relay, with Tyler Green replacing Smith on the relay team. With all of the medals in relay events, the Titans originally placed fifth overall in 5A, but after the results were reviewed, they were awarded the fourth-place trophy.

In the 5A girls meet, only one local swimmer made the finals. Thunder Ridge Junior Harley Taylor finished fifth in the 200 freestyle. In all, local teams brought home 19 individual and relay medals and three trophies from the state championship meet.

“I am just so proud of all of our local swimmers,” said Idaho Falls’ coach Grimes. “They worked hard at this meet, tried their best, and placed well as a result.”


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