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Draper Journal

Corner Canyon swimmer completes three-peat

Mar 30, 2023 01:34PM ● By Catherine Garrett

Corner Canyon High’s Karson Spencer won the 100 butterfly for the third year in a row at the 6A state swimming championships, this time Feb. 18 at BYU. The senior holds the school record in the 100 fly along with four other events. (Photo courtesy Karson Spencer)

Corner Canyon High’s Karson Spencer stood atop the podium for the 100 butterfly for the third season in a row at the 6A state swimming championships. This year, he set a new school record in the event with a time of 51.15 Feb. 18 at Brigham Young University. The senior also finished second in the 200 Individual Medley setting another school mark in 1:58.13 to help the boys place third as a team, marking the third consecutive year that the boys have been in the top three at state. The girls came in 10th place. 

“State was good,” Spencer said. “I’m glad I was able to hold onto my 100 fly all three years.”

Also earning state titles for the Chargers were sophomore Jordan Barlow in the Unified Swimming Division 2 50 and 100 freestyle events along with freshman Bryce Armendariz in the Unified Swimming Division 1 50 free.

Other Corner Canyon swimmers earning All-State recognition at the state meet were junior Konnor Spencer with a fourth-place showing in the 100 breaststroke in a school-record time of 1:00.91; senior Lily Afualo finishing fifth in the 500 free and seventh in the 200 free; senior Ruby Winget taking seventh in the 100 back and eighth in the 200 free; senior Ryan McNeill coming in eighth in the 50 free; and junior James Lillian with an eighth-place finish in the 100 back. The 200 medley relay lineup of Karson Spencer, Konnor Spencer, McNeill and sophomore Sam Lloyd also took second in the event, just four-tenths of a second behind Skyridge’s team.

“The kids swam great with almost every swimmer having lifetime bests,” said CCHS head coach Pat Thurman. “There was a lot of emotion throughout the meet, more so than what I remember from other years. I'm not really sure where it was coming from, but I do know this has been an incredible group to work with. This was the largest group of ninth graders to start and it is the largest group of graduating seniors that Corner Canyon has ever had. They have been through a lot over the past four years, they care for each other, and they absolutely understand the concept of hard work.”

The three-time state champion Karson Spencer began swimming eight years ago and quickly switched soccer for swimming. “I was better at swimming than soccer, and I like being good at what I do,” he said.

His first state title in 2021 as a sophomore was particularly special to Karson Spencer as he was coming off of knee surgery from the previous year. “Being able to win was just a fulfilling moment for me,” he said.

The senior has learned dedication and persistence from his hours each day in the water. “Those two-hour practices, which are sometimes twice a day, doesn’t come easily, but I’m super grateful to everyone who’s shown me what a great sport swimming is,” Karson Spencer said, noting that he has also been coached by “Big Mike” on his club team, Team Aquatics.

Although he has some collegiate offers for swimming currently, the school recordholder in five events—the 100 fly, 100 free, 100 backstroke, 200 IM and 200 medley relay—said he will most likely just move on from the sport and simply focus on school. 

Also swimming for the Chargers at state were junior Rosemary Akins, senior Caleb Bevan, senior Ferne Chirachanakul, senior Annika Gilson, senior Macie Granger, freshman Jacob Hamblin, senior Hugh Hammons, junior Alyssa Meadows, senior Sam Morrell, junior Abbi Pelegrin, senior Brandon Smith, senior Rocky Smith, junior Brayden Towns, sophomore Halle Walker and senior Aden Wright.

“I think the best word I have is bittersweet for this season, but I can't tell you how much is bitter and how much is sweet,” Thurman said. “But, this group is special and has made me a better person and coach.”

Thurman was assisted on the coaching staff by Sheridyn Cook and former CCHS swimmers Victoria Blow and McKay Larsen. “I have to thank them for all they have brought this season,” Thurman said. “They are amazing coaches and fill a vital niche within the team.”