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South Salt Lake Journal

Cottonwood duo Walker, Loyd combine for three golds at state

Feb 26, 2020 12:08PM ● By Nichole Duffy

Senior Emma Walker was named the 5A female swimmer of the year as she took home gold in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard breaststroke. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

By Nichole Duffy | [email protected]

On Feb. 15, the Richards Building at Brigham Young University was filled with excited fans from all over the state, but it was not a Cougar’s meet they were going crazy for but the high school state swimming meet finals. 

As schools from all over the state came together to prove that they were the best in their division, tensions ran high and swimmers gave it their all. 

While there were winners from all over, Cottonwood High School had a great day.

Cottonwood’s girls team ranked seventh overall for the state. The Colts girls team finished with a score of 137, beating the next closest team, Brighton High School, by 13 and only fell 6 points away from sixth place. 

The boys swim team also placed seventh overall, edging out Spanish Fork High School by a single point, with a total of 138 points, only 5 points behind Skyline High School.

One senior in particular had reason to celebrate. That was Jessica Loyd. 

Senior Jessica Loyd takes a breath during the marathon 500-yard freestyle as she swam a time of 5:04.82 to take first place. (Travis Barton/City Journals)


Loyd, who has committed to the Air Force Academy, got second place in the 500-yard freestyle at last year’s state tournament with a final time of 5:10.13. In 2019, Loyd was 7.93 seconds from first place. 

This year she came back stronger and secured first place in the 500-yard freestyle race with a time of 5:04.82, surpassing her qualifying preliminary time by 2.03 seconds. 

Colts fans went crazy and the sounds of the cheering echoed in the cinderblock building and could be heard all the way in the parking lot. 

Loyd’s time in the 500 freestyle was the fastest in Utah this year by three seconds. She also won a medal in the 200-yard freestyle, finishing fourth. 

Her teammate, fellow senior Emma Walker, was named the 5A female swimmer of the year after taking gold in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard breaststroke. 

Walker, who has committed to the University of Kansas, finished with a final time of 2.04.62 in the medley taking first one year after finishing runner-up at the state meet in 2019. 

For the 100-yard breaststroke, Walker finished with a time of 1.02.70, good enough for All-American consideration. She beat out Wasatch’s Haley Altman, the current state record holder in the event.