The swimming program at Corner Canyon High School is in its infancy and already suffered a setback when its top swimmer from last season moved.
But as Hayley Hill was moving out of the area, Ashley Pickford was moving in and took over the Charger reins. She led Corner Canyon with two sixth-place finishes at the State 4A meet, held Feb. 13-14 at BYU. She placed sixth in the endurance testing 500-yard freestyle (5:29.51) and sixth in the 200-yard freestyle (2:02.47).
“Pickford is a very driven and competitive athlete,” Corner Canyon coach Pat Thurman said. “She has a very strong swimming background growing up. We are excited to see what she can do in the future.”
Coming from a family of swimmers that includes her older brother, Chase – who is in the boys team at Corner Canyon – Pickford moved from Indiana to the Draper area with her family last year. This was her first season on the team, but her contributions are already being felt.
“Pickford has brought a competitiveness and toughness to our team that we need,” Thurman said. “We are still a very young team and still in the process of creating our identity. We only had three seniors on the team this year, and none on the boys side.”
Corner Canyon was able to finish second behind Skyline in its region this season and placed seventh as a team at state. Three girls, Ellie Maires, Savannah Hansen and Kate Miller, all were crowned region champs.
“It is an accomplishment for any of our girls to beat Skyline because they are a swimming school,” Thurman said. “They are the cream of the crop when it comes to swimming.”
Ironically, Pickford was not among Corner Canyon’s region champs even though she placed higher at State.
“I think finishing second to Miller at regions pushed Pickford to compete stronger at State,” Thurman said.
Thurman became aware of what Pickford could become during an early season practice. He was having the swimmers compete in and out of the pool in a strength and endurance contest.
“One of the first weeks of practice I was having them do the plank, where you keep your body straight and rigid as long as possible,” Thurman said. “As the contest progressed her body was shaking. But she was not going to let herself drop and willed herself to plank the longest. She told me she was not going to lose and that’s when I knew her true competitive nature.”