Bountiful • It was apparent that a power vacuum existed in many events as the Class 6A state swim meet began Thursday.
About half of the individuals and relay squads at the top of last year’s big-school meet had graduated. And the other half were attending schools that are in different classifications, like Cottonwood, Brighton and Sky View.
So it was the perfect opportunity for Lone Peak senior Braden Tiffany to grab some glory in the 200-yard individual medley. It was an event he hadn’t competed in at state last year, and his qualifying times measured up quite favorably, with one exception.
And so Tiffany did beat the overwhelming majority of competitors. The next closest was 2 seconds back, but there was that one exception — Braden’s younger brother Jordan.
The Knights’ sophomore got the defending boys’ team state champions off to a good start by winning the 200 individual medley in 1 minute, 56.25 seconds, which was 4 seconds ahead of the mark of second-place Braden.
“I’m just glad I get to spend this opportunity with my brother,” Braden Tiffany said after the awards ceremony. “This will be my last meet competing, so I’m just so glad I got to race right next to my brother.
“I just looked at the races and had been considering different things throughout the year. I just decided this would be the best race for me.”
Jordan Tiffany jumped up from a fifth-place finish at the 2017 Class 5A meet — the state’s biggest classification last year.
“Winning last year and being heavy favorites to win this year, it would just be really cool to repeat as championships since last year was our first title for the guys,” Jordan Tiffany said.
Lone Peak held the team lead through Day 1 with 181.5 points, doubling up second-place Pleasant Grove (90 points. The Vikings did have an individual champ Thursday in junior Devin Bunnell, his second straight state title in the 200 freestyle.
The girls’ standings were closer. American Fork had 122.5 points to lead after four events. But hot on the heels of the Cavemen are the swimmers from Kearns, a school stepping into the vacuum.
The Cougars competed in Class 4A last year. After Day 1 in 6A, Kearns sat in second with 109 points thanks to three first-place finishes. Cougars swimmers took first in the 200 medley relay, senior Keely Christenot won the 200 freestyle and junior Lily Plaudis touched first in the 200 individual medley.
Plaudis went into the third leg of the individual medley, the breaststroke, just behind Lone Peak senior Kenzie Chesler. But Plaudis took control of the race with that stroke and the Cougars ended up winning by almost 6 seconds.
Not that Plaudis knew exactly what was happening.
“It was very hard. It actually did not feel that good in the pool,” Plaudis said. “Yes, my breaststroke felt amazing, but I could not see anything. My goggles fogged up so I couldn’t see what I was doing.”
The day’s activities ended with another victory from a school that was in Class 4A last year.
Cyprus senior Brian Christofferson touched the wall first in the boys 50 freestyle in 21.34 to just beat out Lone Peak’s Josh Ries (21.65).
Christofferson immediately bounded out of the water and ran poolside to the congratulating arms of his father, Lyle, who was a senior for Cyprus in 1974.
“My dad was a state champ in this exact event. It’s my senior year, and I wanted to the same thing he did,” Christofferson said. “I finished and I got out and I ran straight to him.
“Adrenaline rush, I guess.”
CLASS 6A DAY 1 STATE CHAMPIONS
Team scores • 1. Lone Peak, 181.5; 2. Pleasant Grove, 90; 3. Riverton, 69; 4. Cyprus, 56; 5. Westlake, 55.
200 medley relay • Lone Peak 1:35.05
200 freestyle • Devin Bunnell, Pleasant Grove, 1:40.20
200 individual medley • Jordan Tiffany, Lone Peak, 1:56.25
50 freestyle • Brian Christofferson, Cyprus, 21:34
Team scores • 1. American Fork, 122.5; 2. Kearns, 109; 3. Lone Peak, 96; 4. Syracuse, 75; 5. Bingham, 61.
200 medley relay • Kearns 1:51.60
200 freestyle • Keely Christenot, Kearns, 1:58.27
200 individual medley • Lily Plaudis, Kearns, 2:06.66
50 freestyle • Abby Frazier, Fremont, 25.12