Maeser Prep Academy senior Tony Puertas claimed two state titles and freshman Kylie Hansen finished second in two events to lead the Lions’ swim team in its second year of competitive swimming, at the 3A Swimming State Meet.
“We are just going to get better,” Aaron Burg, Maeser Prep swim coach said. “The school has done nothing but support us the last two years. We have improved tremendously from the first year; broken records, made records and turned a lot of heads.”
The main man making heads turn is Puertas. The senior claimed state titles in the 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley. He finished the 100 butterfly in 49.91, narrowly missing a state record time by 0.07 seconds.
“It felt amazing,” Puertas said. “Mid-season I would always die the last 25, but I just felt the power coming off that last wall and I was able to finish strong. I wish I could’ve finished just a little bit faster, but I can’t be mad at all. It was a great race.”
In the 200 individual medley, Puertas finished 20 seconds ahead of second place with a time of 1:54.58.
“It was good. I felt really strong the whole way,” Puertas said. “That last 50 I really felt it, my lungs started burning a little because of the little higher altitude. I really just try to get in the zone and race myself. I imagine my old times and self in the lanes next to me in order to motivate myself to keep going.”
Burg couldn’t say enough about Puertas and the career he has had.
“I’ve known Tony for many years,” Burg said. “I’ve seen him swim ever since he was 10 years old. He’s a fast learner. He’s super dedicated at everything he’s done. He is the epitome of what I want every swimmer to be. I’m just super excited that I got to have the privilege of knowing him and having him as one of my swimmers. He is among the elite, and I am so happy for him.”
Puertas wasn’t the only Lion on the podium Thursday. Hansen, a freshman, swam well, finishing second in the 200 freestyle (2:03.24) and in the 500 freestyle (5:26.88).
“They are definitely hard races that I swam today, but it was really fun,” Hansen said. “I normally try and get a song stuck in my head and I just have fun (before a race) and do my best. Today I had one from ‘The Greatest Showman.’ ”
“Kylie is just like Tony,” Burg said. “She is a Wonder Woman of the sport. She’s going to get faster. The sky is the limit for her.”
Maeser Prep senior Dallin Hansen also performed well finishing in ninth in the 100 freestyle and 10th in the 200 freestyle. While American Leadership Academy’s Amy Peterson recorded fifth-place finishes in the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle.