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West Jordan Journal

Grizzlies swim team breaks two school records on its way to region championship

Mar 10, 2021 12:34PM ● By Greg James

In her first year as head coach, Markie Harper has helped her girls win a region championship, and she feels the team is in a good place to succeed. (Photo courtesy of Grizzly Booster Club.)

By Greg James | [email protected] 

Records are meant to be broken. 

The girls Copper Hills swim team broke two school records this season on its way to a region championship, the first in school history.

“I am super thrilled that we had a great year,” Grizzlies head swim coach Markie Harper said. 

Hayley Bachman, Jersey Nielsen, Jade Updike and Katelyn Riddle combined to establish new school records in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. 

“It was super cool to watch and they are ranked high in the state right now,” Harper said. “I am excited to see how they do.” 

In the 200 relay, Bachman, Updike and Nielsen had forged a small lead over the Bingham and Jordan swimmers, coming into the final leg of the race. Junior Katelyn Riddle secured the win by swimming a final 50 meters in 25.32 seconds. 

Their 200 time of 1 minute 44.39 seconds was the fourth-fastest time in the state behind Lone Peak’s 1:40.19. Their 400 relay time was fourth fastest.

“I have never seen anyone work as hard as these girls have this year,” Harper said. “I am super proud of them and the whole team. At region, we had 63 personal records.”

The swim team ended the season with 44 team members. It had 13 (eight girls and five boys) that qualified for the state swim meet. 

The Utah High School Activities Association 6A state swim meet was scheduled for Feb. 19–20 (after press deadline) at the Kearns Oquirrh Park Fitness Center. This season, the state meets were split up by classification because of COVID concerns.

Bachman is a freshman and had the team’s fastest times in the 50 and 100 free. Senior Kylee Nelson swam a 1:04.25 in the 100 butterfly; Riddle had a fast time of 1:07.35 in the 100 backstroke; sophomore Marissa Visser swam the 100 breaststroke in 1:15.25; and Updike posted a 2:02.48 in the 200 free. 

The boys finished sixth in the region.

“I am super impressed with my boys,” Harper said. “There was not a ton of them, but they were happy all season, and that is the important thing.” 

Fast times this season for the boys were accomplished by Kaden Eichelberger in the 50 and 100 free; Lars Leigh in the 100 butterfly, 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke; Andrew Jensen in the 100 backstroke; and Sebastian Bodero in the 200 and 500 freestyle.

“This year, we had to remember that at least we were swimming, we were not shut down,” Harper said. “The boys supported each other and even had a ‘who did it better’ selfie contest against the girls. It was hysterical.” 

The Grizzlies practice and use the KOPFC as their home pool. 

“We consider ourselves lucky,” Harper said. “We do not have to fight for pool time, and Kearns Oquirrh Park has been great to us.” 

This is Harper’s first season as head coach at Copper Hills. The coaching staff includes Angela Western and Becky Babcock. The Booster Club president is Jennifer Ludwig.

“We have a great coaching staff, and they have made all the difference for these kids,” Harper said. “I feel super lucky to coach. I think we are in a good place to keep working hard and find ourselves another championship somewhere.”