Moab swimmers win multiple medals at Utah Summer Games
by Jeff Richards
contributing writer
Jun 27, 2013 | 1628 views | 0 0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Moab Sea Devil Drake Hackney gets ready for the start of a backstroke competition.
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Nine athletes from the Moab Sea Devils youth swim team earned nearly two-dozen medals in competitions at the Utah Summer Games at Cedar City, June 20-22.

Leading the Moab swimmers in the medal count was 8-year-old Indiana Richards, who won seven total medals – one gold, three silver, and three bronze – in her age category. In the only competition for which Richards did not medal – the 200-meter individual medley – she was disqualified for making an illegal stroke during the butterfly portion of the race.

“Even though she got disqualified in the IM, she came back to swim the 100-meter butterfly later that afternoon, and ended up getting the gold medal with a time of 2 minutes, 22.81 seconds,” said Penny Richards, Indiana’s mother and the Sea Devils’ head coach.

Indiana Richards finished second in the 50-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:11.95, second in the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 2:13.99, and second in the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 2:43.51. Her three bronze medal finishes were in the 50-meter butterfly, the 100-meter freestyle, and 50-meter freestyle events.

Moab Sea Devil Mary Kimmerle, 12, set a new Utah Summer Games record in the 200-meter butterfly, recording a time of 3:38.54. Finishing second in that race was Kimmerle’s teammate, London Richards, 12, who posted a time of 3:58.12. Kimmerle also won a silver medal in the 50-meter backstroke, recording a personal-best time of 36.77 seconds.

“That was faster than her previous best in the short course [50-yard] race in that same event,” said Penny Richards. “Mary’s backstroke time was even faster than her 50-meter freestyle time. She swam a fantastic race.”

London Richards also earned medals in two other events: a bronze in the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:43.17 and a bronze in the 200-meter breaststroke with a time of 3:39.27.

Also for Moab, Drake Hackney, 15, earned three medals, all in breaststroke events. Hackney earned second-place silver medals in both the 50-meter (41.41 seconds) and 200-meter (3:39.64) breaststroke events, and also took third in the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:38.34.

Braxten Pierce, 12, also won silver medals in his age group in both the 100-meter breaststroke and the 200-meter breaststroke events, posting respective times of 1:36.35 and 3:27.07. Pierce also narrowly missed medaling in the 50-meter freestyle, taking fourth with a time of 32.23 seconds, less than one-tenth of a second behind the bronze medalist. He also missed a bronze in the 50-meter butterfly in similar fashion, his time of 38.27 seconds coming just behind the third-place finisher’s time of 38.16.

Alexa Pierce, 14, Braxten’s sister, won four silver medals at the games. She placed second in the 50-meter backstroke with a time of 36.99, the 400-meter freestyle in a time of 5:43.03, the 100-meter backstroke in a time of 1:19.24, and the 50-meter butterfly in a time of 33.79.

Robin Willscheidt, 15, placed second in the 200-meter breaststroke, coming from behind to edge Southern Utah Swimming’s Allie Watt at the finish line. Willscheidt’s silver-medal time was 3:29.98, while Watt settled for bronze with a time of 3:30.04.

“That was one of the best finishes of the entire meet,” coach Richards said.

Willscheidt also placed third in the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:34.94.

Another great finish, according to Penny Richards, was her 14-year-old daughter River’s winning the first heat in the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:36.76, narrowly edging her opponent in the adjacent lane by three-hundredths of a second. River Richards ended up placing fourth in that event, however, as the third-place finisher in the other heat posted a time of 1:35.99.

“It was an amazing finish, because River was two full body lengths behind at the halfway point, and still a few feet behind with less than 10 meters left. She just stretched out and hit the wall first,” coach Richards said.

Tyler Moreau, 12, was the only Moab swimmer to compete in the event’s longest race, the 1,500-meter freestyle. Moreau took fourth in that event with a time of 28:25.03, which was more than six minutes faster than his time last year.

“That’s a great improvement, and Tyler also cut his times in his other events as well,” Penny Richards said.

The coach said competing at the Utah Summer Games is a good challenge for Moab’s swimmers.

“The Summer Games are a nice challenge for our swimmers because they are held on a longer 50-meter pool, and they are against tougher competition, including some kids we’ve never swam against before,” she said. “Plus, they are spread out over three days, making it a test of stamina as well ... Everyone did a great job, and I’m proud of their great efforts.”

The Sea Devils’ next scheduled meet is July 6 at Price.

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