His athletes are consuming copious amounts of food, walking off kilter after countless rigorous training sessions and, he said, are noticeably drained. But this summer's Park City Swimming club is having one of its most successful seasons ever under head coach Mike Werner, and he said the relentless hard work is paying big dividends.

"This has been the toughest training summer we've ever had," he said. "We've included lots of yardage, long swim sets, hard swim sets, and a lot of it is quality. They've stepped up to the challenge and worked really hard and sometimes are looking half-dead, but the water has amazing powers."

He said the team has finished in the top three in a number of summer meets this year and that is with the club's limited numbers. Much like the Park City High School swim team, which Werner also leads, the club team has loads of talent but not the numbers of other club teams in the state. "We're taking 20 kids to a meet and beating teams that have 50-plus swimmers," he said. "The kids have been breaking lots of team records this summer."

The club is heading into its last two exhibition meets before the state club championships Aug. 1-4 in Kearns and the Western Zone Championships Aug. 7-11.

Park City Swimming is sending roughly 25 athletes to the state club championships to race against the best in the state. Werner said he is also taking eight swimmers to the Western Zone Championships, which will have 40 to 45 of Utah's top prep swimmers, in Grand Junction, Colo.


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"That's over 20 percent of the team from Park City," he said, proudly. "Taking eight kids is pretty decent and pretty cool. We have new kids going that have never been before until this year. I think that speaks a lot about the program, and it lets the kids know that there is a lot more out there and there are a lot of possibilities."

Among those heading to the Western Zone Championships in Grand Junction are Zach Carfil, Natalie McDonald and Milava Shumilova, who has set three state records (100-meter backstroke, 200-meter backstroke and 400-meter IM) in the 11-12 girls' range. Also headed to Grand Junction are Mara Selznick, Becca Selznick, Audrey McDonald, Lucas Hess and Joelle Hess.

"We're looking to get some more state records at 'championships' and 'zones,'" Werner said. "These kids going are usually in the top 1-2-3 in the events, so it is a pretty big deal. It's been a really good summer so far."

The club hosts the Last Chance Meet this weekend at the Ecker Hill Aquatic Center before heading to Draper at the end of July for the Beehive Finale. After that, the big meets sneak up on Werner and Co.

Following the state club championships in Kearns, the team will have a day to rest before traveling to Grand Junction for the biggest meet of the summer.

"Rest Sunday, travel Monday and compete Tuesday," he said. "It's going to be insane."

"My group tries to focus on getting ready for these big ones," he added. "The best is yet to come. If we rest them and do it right, they ought to go swim pretty bloody fast."

Werner also said the swimmers intently watched the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials and are eager for the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London, which happen to get underway around the same time as the club's significant meets.

"We're excited," he said. "It's nice to see the fast guys getting everyone all around the world going."

After the Western Zone Championships, Werner and his swimmers will have a much-deserved break. But that will only last three weeks before the club reconvenes on Sept. 10. A month later, the high school squad will dive back into the pool.

"It's ongoing," he said, laughing.