Coming into the year, Boulder City’s Dylan Bunch figured to be one of the state’s top distance swimmers. Then the senior added a sprint repertoire.
His versatility made all the difference Saturday.
Bunch won the 200- and 500-yard freestyles, and also paced the Eagles’ 400 freestyle relay team to third, lifting Boulder City to the Sunrise Region championship at UNLV.
In the girls meet, Sammy Harrison won three events to lead Coronado to the title with 500 points, topping Green Valley (410) and Boulder City (394).
Bunch took the 200 freestyle in 1 minute 42.76 seconds and the 500 in 4:32.81, winning the latter by nearly 12 seconds.
“My club coaches helped me out a lot. I needed strength training programs, and I bulked up a little bit,” he said. “Around my senior year, colleges came out to look at me, and so I started working really hard to show them what I could do.”
Bunch said he knew he had to strengthen his sprints when college coaches began recruiting him over the summer.
“I was very excited about swimming in college,” said Bunch, who has signed with Denver. “We gained a lot of other great swimmers, and I wanted to be a leader for this new group. I knew they had a lot of potential. I knew some of them could be really fast, and I wanted to set an example.”
It also helped Boulder City replace recently graduated standouts Zane Grothe and Drew Peterson.
“(Bunch) is even more valuable for us, being able to do the fast races now and not just the long events,” Boulder City coach Sara Carroll said. “He’s really improved. He’s an amazing, low-key, smart young man.”
The Eagles’ Joey Gebhart added the 100 backstroke title in 52.28.
Coronado’s Jacob Luna broke region records in the 200 individual medley (1:51.08) and 100 butterfly (49.16), and was named Sunrise boys swimmer of the year.
Green Valley won the 200 medley relay (1:36.5) and 400 freestyle relay (3:11.46), and Sean Smith added a win in the 100 breaststroke in 58.45.
Harrison won the girls 200 freestyle in 1:50.22, more than five seconds ahead of Cori Molisee of Boulder City. Harrison then blitzed the field in the 500 freestyle in 4:54.16, and helped the 200 freestyle relay team to first at 1:39.64.
“It helps to have her, because you know she’s solid. She just wins,” Coronado coach Dave Stump said. “We can always count on her to never let us down. And I wholeheartedly expect her to swim faster next weekend, to turn some eyes.
“I don’t mind betting on her. That’s a pretty sure bet.”
Nicole Mertel broke her own region record in the 100 backstroke, finishing in 56 seconds.
Boulder City freshman Alex Hubel, the Sunrise girls swimmer of the year, won the 50 (23.65) and 100 freestyles (:50) and anchored winning relay teams in the 200 (1:49.65) and 400 freestyle relays (3:33.17).
Silverado’s Mallory Harris won the 200 individual medley (2:09) and the 100 breaststroke (1:05.48).