The Riverton High School swim team dove into the new season with a win against Grantsville at its first meet Oct. 15. Both the boys and girls teams won their matches and junior Kylie Steadman, one of the team captains, beat her personal best in both the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle with times of 27.70 and 1.10, respectively.
Of the four meets held so far, the girls team has won two and the boys one. During the Nov. 20 meet against West Jordan, the girls 200 free relay team, made up of Kylie Steadman, Kaylee Fuller, Taryn Gaddis and Kalene Finsh, also broke their team record by one second.
“All my life I’ve been interested in swimming,” Steadman said. “My sister was a swimmer so I guess I just followed in her footsteps. It’s a good stress reliever and a great way to stay in shape.”
As captain, Steadman hopes to inspire team unity. “I want us to get to know each other and make friendships that will last through high school,” she said.
This year’s team has 70 swimmers and head coach Clark Etherington is hoping to send at least five or six of them to the state championship in February. “We had seven or eight go to state last year and a couple of them ended up in the top 10 but we’ve been average in the past,” he said.
Along with Steadman, Etherington also believes junior Caden Taylor is a swimmer to watch this year. “I’m working on beating the school record for the 50 yard freestyle,” Taylor said. The current record is 23.4 and Taylor hopes to post a time of 23 seconds or better.
The swimmers currently practice at the Treehouse Athletic Club in Draper and Etherington worries that having to use a pool so far away is holding them back. “It’s a big commitment to be on the team,” he said. “Some of these kids have to come all the way out from Herriman. We have to travel the farthest of any school in the district that I know of. We’re an average team right now and will continue to be average until we get a closer pool.”
Along with fighting the issue of distance, the team also has to obey Treehouse club rules and make half of the Junior Olympic competition size pool available if any club member wants to use the facility. “If someone comes in to do laps, we have to shove over to one side of the pool and with so many kids on the team, it can get kind of crowded,” Etherington said.
Etherington has pinned some hopes on rumors of a pool being built in Herriman, though that project is still three or four years away. But as long as the team is only able to meet in the afternoons at a pool that’s more than five miles from the school, it will be hard to compete against schools like Bingham, which holds morning and afternoon practices at the Marv Jensen Recreation Center, which is within walking distance.
“I wish we had more to work with but I think we do a really good job for what we have,” he said. Etherington has coached at Riverton since it opened in 2000. He was also a coach at Bingham for nine years and during his high school swimming career he took home the second place title in the state championship for Brighton three years in a row.
This year’s team members are: Chris Anderson, Elisabeth Anderson, David Atchley, Rem Ballard, Ricky Barker, Tyler Bowen, Wesley Burt, Cassandra Carter, Erin Cavender, Anthony Chiechi, Christ Coats, Robin Cook, Andrew Datel, Kasaandra Decker, Dominic Douglas, Lindy Downs, Brock Ekins, Justin Elincky, Kaylene Finch, Kaylee Fuller, Taryn Gaddis, Kaleb Gerth, Nick Glover, Abigale Griffiths, Trenton Griffiths, Katie Gundestrop, Cory Gunn, Nolan Harris, Ian Hatch, Austin Haws, Justin Huff, Justin Ingram, Logan Lamperle, Abigail Lloyd, Elise Madsen, Travis Mendenhall, Jessica Morrill, Kelli Morrill, Audrey Nokes, Camile Nokes, Sophia Ochoa, Taylor Olney, Parker Overy, Ricardo Paez, Joshua Parrada, Gratten Perea, Jenna Porter, Elizabeth Robertson, Emily Ryan, Becca Sirrine, Danai Sirrine, Carter Sligting, Ryan Smith, Melissa Stauffer, Kylie Steadman, Katie Stomberg, Caden Taylor, Bethany Thomas, Zach Thorn, Buster Townsend, Connor Townsend, Megan Walk, Tanner Wilcox, Tyler Wilcox, Aaron Williams, Taylor Wilmberly and Garrett Woolley.