Miners fly injt second-place
When the Miners swim team finished about 40 points behind the 5A Brighton Bengals on Wednesday, it would seem logical that they would be hanging their heads. But Brighton is no ordinary competitor. They draw from a student body of over 2,000, field a team of 75 and a strong development program, and at one-time produced 20 straight state championships for the girls’ squad.
"They’re good. No doubt," said Park City High School head coach Matt Hayes.
But in that same vein, Park City is no ordinary team either, which they proved, by faring well in multiple races.
"It shows our lack of depth, but it also shows the size of our school," Hayes said. "It is a win for us."
The girl’s team which finished with 62 points to Brighton’s 108 had many bright spots, including some big wins from top competitors. Samantha Case, a year-round swimmer who competed regionally over the summer, took second in the 200-yard freestyle and was beaten by mere tenths of seconds in the 100-yard freestyle.
"She is excited about swimming and being the best," Hayes said. "It’s made a difference in her performance.
Teammate Stephanie Tomlin is posting the fastest time in 100-yard butterfly, an entire second over two-time defending state champion Kelsey Elizondo of Judge Memorial.
For the boys who were only 32 points back from Brighton losing 99-67, there were individual wins to be proud of. Tyler Pool won both the 100-yard individual medley and the 100-yard butterfly.
"We have top talent, we just don’t have a lot of them," Hayes said. "Our top-end talent is as good as anybody."
He also adds that this is the starting spot for many of the team’s strongest swimmers and their times will only get faster, especially facing so many strong teams early in the season.
Swimming against a powerhouse also allowed the younger members of the Miners’ squad to see just how competitive things can get and encourage them to work harder.
"They were excited about how they showed at this meet," Hayes said.
Much of the early part of the season is focused on intense training and speed work, so mixed with top-level opponents, the new swimmers are getting a quick lesson in the demands of swimming at the top. Hayes said he was impressed with the performance of his younger children, and says much of that is due in part to their work ethic and dedication.
Sophomore swimmer Haleigh Flake proved that by finishing with a state qualifying time in the 500 freestyle in just her first time trying the event.
That determination combined with the wins from his headliners has actually caused Hayes to reevaluate things. He says he plans to reset expectations and goals with the hope that his team will swim to win, not just to finish second behind defending state 3A champion Judge.
They can begin their quest to chip away at the Bulldog dynasty as soon as next
Thursday when they host the Region 10 Invite, which will welcome Judge, Wasatch, Uintah, Union as well as non-region teams, North and South Summit and Juan Diego.
This will be the third difficult meet in as many weeks for the Miners, but Hayes says his team just keeps rising to challenge and improving each week.
"Having the leadership, coaches and captains go into these things with no fear — you see that with successful coaches, teaching no fear of the competition, and it disseminates to the kids," Hayes said."
The Miners will host the Region 10 Invitational on Thursday, Nov. 2 at the Ecker Hill Aquatic Center at 1 p.m. The Miners will then take a two-week break before hosting the Park City Invitational Nov. 17-18.
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