South Sevier's swimming sisters

The Gough sisters have been competitively swimming since a young age, but this year has been their first competing on a high school team. Montana, a senior, and Riley, a sophomore at South Sevier High School, are willing to dive headfirst into any competition.

“Montana and Riley are both very talented swimmers,” said coach Christal Anderson. “I’ve only had the privilege of coaching the Gough sisters for one season, but they have been a great part of our team.”

The sisters started pushing each other before they came to Utah and got involved in representing their school.

“Growing up in Montana, we mostly swam on a club team,” said Riley. “We’ve been swimming together for almost 10 years now.”

Both Gough sisters prefer the butterfly stroke for its challenging nature and rhythmic style.

“I feel like the butterfly challenges me,” said Montana. “It’s my favorite because it’s naturally a beautiful and rhythmic stroke but allows me to always improve.”

The sisters are not deterred by the challenging nature of swimming butterfly.

“The 100-meter fly is one of the most difficult races to swim,” said Anderson. “Both enjoy the competition of the stroke and are very talented swimmers in this race.”

The butterfly is a style both sisters enjoy for its technical aspects, but also the ability to push themselves and compete against one another.

“I set a goal this last year to beat my sister in the 100-meter fly,” said Riley. “Every time I seemed to catch her, she was setting a new personal record as well.”

At the state meet, Montana placed fifth in the 100-meter butterfly and sixth in the 200-meter freestyle. Riley landed eighth in the 100-meter butterfly and seventh in the individual medley.

“Even though we are competitive against each other, we also benefit from both swimming the fly,” said Montana. “We help each other improve our style, critique each other’s dives, and push each other to set new personal records.”

Joining the South Sevier swim team, the Gough sisters have also positively affected the team.

“Us coaches have loved how much they’ve bonded with the team this year,” said Anderson. “They quickly became a key part of our team and have always been encouraging and supportive of others.”

Swimming is a sport that unites the athletes from different Sevier County schools.

“We’ve really enjoyed being a part of this swim team,” said Montana. “We practice together with Richfield and North Sevier high schools as well. We love the support we all have for one another even if were on different teams.”

Ending the season strong, both sisters reflected on how special it was to compete together for more than 10 years.

“We’ve always swam together as sisters and best friends,” said Montana. “It meant a lot to me to be able to share this experience with my sister.”

Montana and Riley will both be swimming next year, but for different teams. This year, Montana will be graduating from South Sevier High School and will receive her associates of science from Snow College.

“Next year without Montana will definitely be different,” said Riley. “I will be sad to not be able to compete with her by my side.”

Montana has received several offers to compete at the collegiate level but is undecided currently on where she wants to attend.

“It will be weird not swimming together for the first time,” said Montana. “But I know we will still be cheering each other on.”