The travel time between Cedar Valley High School and the Lehi Legacy Center is approximately 25 minutes, varying a little depending on signals and traffic.

The Cedar Valley swim team has made that trip twice per day on just about every school day for more than five months just to be able to practice.

While that is a lot of drive time, Aviator freshman Dorrie Twede said Friday it didn’t seem like that much.

“After a long time doing the drive it feels shorter than it actually is,” Twede said. “Our carpools made it feel so much shorter because of our interactions with each other. I get to go and be with these people doing something I enjoy, it’s not that bad.”

It’s always an adventure for a first-year school like Cedar Valley to get everything set for its extracurricular programs and the Aviator swim team had plenty of logistics and details it had to work out as it got underway in October of 2019.

Cedar Valley swim coach Jacob Stepan said that while getting things running was challenging, he feels like he’s had a great opportunity to see his young Aviator squad grow.

“The best part has been working with these kids,” Stepan said. “They have a great team spirit and great camaraderie. They are fun kids and it’s been great to get to know them, to see them improve and do so well. That’s been really fun.”

All of the driving, practicing and competing throughout the season set the stage for Cedar Valley to compete at the 4A state meet at BYU on Friday and Saturday.

While the Aviators aren’t in the mix for the state title, Stepan said having as many swimmers qualify for the final meet as the Aviators did was a testament to the drive of the athletes.

“This is fun and exciting for me,” Stepan said. “Someone asked me if I get nervous for our swimmers and I don’t. I just get excited. It’s fun to watch them compete and awesome to watch them improve. We’ve had a bunch of great races today and everyone has been doing well. It’s rewarding and gratifying to see the work we’ve put in pay off.”

Since half of the 30-swimmer team is made up of freshmen, it’s not surprising that freshmen like Twede and Braedon Scott have been leading the way.

“It’s inspiring for the rest of the team to see the freshmen going fast,” Stepan said. “A lot of our new swimmers see Braedon and Dorrie and they realize that if they work, they can get to where those two are. It’s awesome to have them. They are great kids.”

Scott qualified for Saturday’s finals in both the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard fly, then got to savor those successes with his teammates.

“After every time you get out of the pool, you have people cheering for you,” Scott said. “It’s just nice because you always have friends. They are really good people.”

Both Scott and Twede have had success in club swimming but high school swimming is a little different.

“It’s been really fun,” Twede said. “I’ve swam for a really long time but getting into high school has been a lot more eventful. It’s been a really exciting year. I’ve been able to make some really good friends here. It’s just been awesome.”

Scott said the club swimming may be more intense but high school is a lot more friendly.

“You have friends everywhere,” Scott said. “You just have a big group of friends, while in club you have swimmers from various schools.”

The hope for the entire Aviator swim team is that the experiences this weekend at the state meet and all the work put in by the underclassmen (Cedar Valley has no seniors) will pay dividends down the road.

“It’s kind of cool to see the swimmers progress so much,” Twede said. “Some of them have just started swimming, so to see them progressing that quickly and seeing the potential that they have, when we get to our junior and senior years it’s going to be super-fun and we’re going to have a killer team.”

Daily Herald sports reporter Jared Lloyd can be reached at 801-344-2555 or jlloyd@heraldextra.com. Twitter: @JaredrLloyd. Instagram: @JaredrLloyd.

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