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MHS swim team making big strides in its first year

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Without a local pool in which to practice or hold meets, the Morgan High School swim team has already spent a lot of time on the road this season. Since the beginning of November, the Trojans have traveled to South Summit High School, Life Center Athletic Club in Sandy, Roy High, Box Elder High and Tooele.

The Morgan County News caught up with the team at Ogden High School on Nov. 30 for a meet between the Trojans, Tigers and Bonneville Lakers. Nearly every team that Morgan has competed against this year has been from a bigger school than MHS, and the meet at Ogden was no exception. So the 3A Trojans are getting practice against some of the very best swimmers in the state. For a first-year team like Morgan, the experience is invaluable.

“There are such good swimmers here, and that’s so good for our team to see,” MHS coach Kelly Toomer said. “We’ve really only been competing against 4A and 5A kids, and those kids are phenomenal swimmers. For our kids being new at this and them seeing such driven and structured swimmers, they kind of see what they could be.”

Through the first month of the season, Morgan’s swimmers are showing significant improvement from where they were at the beginning of the year, and some are comparable to the top swimmers from other schools. For example, sophomore Rachel Wheelwright is consistently placing in the top two in a variety of events. Mekinley Foy, McKenna DeWitt and Jaycie Beckstrom have also made great strides. The four girls also form Morgan’s top relay team.

At the Ogden meet, Wheelwright took second place in the 100-yard butterfly and second in the 100-yard backstroke. In the backstroke, Wheelwright touched the wall just 4/100ths of a second behind Ogden’s Renae Sweet. Dewitt had a good day as well, finishing second in the 50-yard freestyle race out of 36 swimmers.

“A large number of our kids shaved off a good portion of their times today,” Toomer said. “All of them are making improvements and that’s what we like to see.”

On the boys’ side, Carson Skidmore, Justin Milliner and Jayce Rudd are among the names routinely found near the top of the leaderboard. Skidmore missed the Ogden meet, however, because he was running in a cross country race in California.

Overall, Toomer is thrilled with her team and has loved watching the progress each swimmer has made from meet to meet.

“We’ve done so well and the kids are improving so much,” she said. “There’s a lot of room to grow, but these kids are getting so much better. They have such heart and so much drive. That’s why I like coaching them, because they really do love it.”

Following next week’s meets at Ben Lomond (Dec. 12) and Judge Memorial (Dec. 15-16), the Trojans will have a short break before resuming their season on Jan. 4 at South Summit.

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