Miner swimmers make state-ment | ParkRecord.com

Miner swimmers make state-ment

Jen Watkins, Of the Record staff

Those watching the Miners at the state swim meet Feb. 5-6 at BYU may have been surprised to see athletes dropping record times in nearly every event the boys’ and girls’ teams competed in, but coaches John Harvey and Mike Werner said that is exactly what they expected.

"They were ready to go those times," Werner said. "They swam out of their heads, but it is what we expected. We always planned to make our best performance at the end."

"We knew they were able to go that fast," Harvey added.

The boys’ team pulled out a first-place finish with 339 points with Wasatch taking second with 320 points. Juan Diego placed third with 251 points. On the girls’ side, Judge took first with 380 points while Park City placed second with 372. Wasatch finished third with 275.

Harvey said, going into the meet, Wasatch was favored to place first for the boys and Judge was favored to place first for the girls. The Miners’ surprising results not only landed them a state championship and a runner-up trophy, but also two coach of the year awards for Harvey for both the boys’ and girls’ teams. PCHS senior Mia Greenwald took home the girls’ swimmer of the year for the second consecutive time. Dusty Ragland and Griffin Pool placed second and third respectively on the boys’ side.

Harvey said that although he knew the teams could swim as fast as they did, they had never done so before. At the Region 10 meet in January, most of the team competed without resting beforehand. The result was several disqualifications for false starts and a second-place finish behind Wasatch.

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"The magic wasn’t there for Region," he said. "We rested them for state and it just worked out. They were more excited. They were more ready. They wanted it more at state."

Harvey said he knew at the beginning of the year that the two teams had the potential to win at state, even though the year before the boys had struggled to make it in the top six. This year, Harvey had more boys to work with after more than doubling his team with incoming freshman and returning swimmers who had taken a break from the team.

"I knew the boys and girls had a very, very good shot, that the possibility was there," he said. "Both Mike and I also knew that, if it was going to happen, it was going to be tough. It was coming to come down to the (final event): the 400 freestyle relay. And in the boys’ case, that’s what it came down to."

Going into that event, the Miners had to get at least fifth place to win the state championship by one point. If they placed, they would have lost by one point to Wasatch.

"I told the boys, you can go for a medal and get a first place (individually) and risk it and be fast, or play it safe and solidify a state championship," Harvey said. "(Team captain) Dusty Ragland spoke up and said, ‘Heck, no. We’re going for the win.’ They went out for it, and they got it."

The boys placed first in the 400 freestyle, giving them more than the one point they needed to beat Wasatch.

Going into the final event for the girls, Harvey said he knew it was almost impossible to beat Judge, but he didn’t tell the team that.

"We were 18 points behind going into the 400 freestyle relay," he said. "We would have had to win and Judge would have to get eighth for us to win state. (The Miners) right from the beginning controlled the race and they won it hands down. But Judge got fourth, so that was a 10-point difference, making us just barely miss the mark by eight points."

Harvey said the teams did a phenomenal job, and while he is unsure who will be the head coach next year, both he and Werner said they will both be part of the team in some way.

The Miners will compete one more time this season Feb. 19-20 at the Utah Senior Championship in St. George where they will race 3A, 4A and 5A swimmers, as well as collegiate athletes from Utah.

For a list of individual results from the state championship, see Scoreboard on B-6.