The Park City High School girls  swim team poses with its 3A state championship trophy. Photo courtesy of Scott Filipiak
The Park City High School girls swim team poses with its 3A state championship trophy. Photo courtesy of Scott Filipiak

From the beginning of the year, almost everyone could see that the Park City High School girls' swim team was going to be something special.

By dominating their 3A competition and holding their own against 4A and 5A schools, the Miner girls proved it was going to take a mammoth effort to keep them from the top of the 3A ladder.

And, at the 3A state championships Feb. 14-15 at BYU in Provo, the Miners cemented their strong season with a dominating effort.

Every single one of the Miners' 18-girl squad score points, giving Park City a convincing 517.5 points, swamping second-place Desert Hills (280 points) and third-place Cedar City (212.5 points).

Park City coach Mike Werner said the results at the state meet were a product of the hard work the girls put in over the course of the season.

"We knew we were going to be very, very strong in 3A," he said. "Anything is possible, of course, but we wanted to be as strong as we could. So, throughout the year, we swam against the hardest schools we could 4A schools, 5A schools and did really well. Then we approached this meet as just another meet."

The boys' team, on the other hand, was a bit more of a question mark. But Werner wouldn't go as far as to call the squad's state title a surprise.

"We knew it was within the realm of possibility, to be fair," he said.

Still, when you bring a squad of just eight swimmers to the state meet, your chances of winning aren't great. Add in that there were no senior swimmers for the Park City boys and it's an even more uphill battle.

But the Miners put up a fight and ended up winning the title by 25 points over second-place Dixie, 305-280. Third-place Cedar City picked up 226 points.

"It was awesome," Werner said. "The kids worked really hard. They were willing to get after it every day. We're a relatively small boys' team to begin with, but when you only go to state with eight swimmers, that makes it even smaller. That made the win even sweeter."

Werner added that it was a yearlong effort that helped the Miners claim the top spot in 3A.

Jinwon Bailar swims the breaststroke segment of the 200-yard individual medley race, in which he finished second. Photo courtesy of Scott Filipiak
Jinwon Bailar swims the breaststroke segment of the 200-yard individual medley race, in which he finished second. Photo courtesy of Scott Filipiak

"At the beginning of the year, we sat down with the boys and said, 'Hey guys, we could be the surprise of the 3A boys if you guys are willing to work hard and see what happens,'" he said. "Anything is possible."

Sophomore Jinwon Bailar earned Swimmer of the Meet honors for winning the 100-yard backstroke and finishing second in the 200-yard individual medley. He also helped the 200-yard medley relay team to first place, along with Ryan Graves, Vincent Hess and Alex Yokubison.

On the girls' side, the 200-yard medley relay team of Natalie McDonald, Mara Selznick, Becca Selznick and Joelle Hess finished in first place, setting a 3A state record in the process.

The 400-yard freestyle relay team of McDonald, Mara Selznick, Becca Selznick and Roslyn Selznick also set a 3A state record while taking first place.

Individually, Hess took first in the 100-yard breaststroke, Mara Selznick won the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard butterfly, Becca Selznick won the 100-yard freestyle and Roslyn Selznick won the 200-yard freestyle.

This weekend, the Miners are in St. George for the Utah State Championships, where the high schoolers will compete against every qualifier in their age groups in the state of Utah.

"It's not just 3A or 4A or 5A," Werner said. "They swim against everyone their age across all classifications."

And, he added, they'll get to escape the Park City winter for a while.

"It's a fun meet down in St. George," he said. "We get some warm weather and get out of the snow and go have a good time."