Park City soars over Weber
It was a "W" in the win column, but Park City head swim coach Matt Hayes knows his team has the potential to perform even better.
Even though the Miners soundly defeated 5A Weber in a dual meet Wednesday afternoon, 102-68 in the girls competition and 87-83 in the boys, Hayes is hungry for more.
"It’s too much turkey, not enough swimming," he joked.
Traditionally, this time of year is particularly hard on swim teams with two major holidays hitting mid-season, right about the time the team is competing the most and getting the most tired.
"The holidays are hard in this sport," Hayes said. "With this sport you have to continue training and the performances reflect that."
Park City standout Samantha Case struggled a bit against Weber’s Chelsea Roepelle in the 100-yard freestyle and Jenna Hallesy in the 200-yard freestyle, losing both, but was also three seconds slower than her best time. She wasn’t alone, with many members of the team swimming more slowly than usual.
There were some splashes of brilliance. Top swimmers Stephanie Tomlin and Tyler Pool continued to assert their dominance with Tomlin winning the 100-yard butterfly and Pool winning the 200 IM, both by a full five seconds. Pool also won the 100-yard backstroke his worst event.
"Worst for somebody really good is still really good," Hayes said.
Hayes is also seeing some surprises. Winter school student Brandon Booth, who is also a snowboarder, began swimming this year and is already knocking on the door of state qualification in the 50-yard freestyle. Nick Johnson, who Hayes calls one of his most loyal swimmers, finally qualified for the stet meet in the 100-yard butterfly after two years of trying.
"He’s getting where I didn’t expect and it’s great," Hayes said.
Even with mixed results, the Miners were able to pull off a win against a much larger team without much trouble. Hayes says that it is the depth of the team that makes the difference.
"They have good swimmers," Hayes said. "We just have more. To do that well against a 5A school is great."
Every year he has a fair number of underclassman, but never before has he seen the commitment and work ethic that has consistently been giving Park City results good results in regular season meets.
"The underclassman are swimming well and working hard," Hayes said.
With that kind of depth, the Miners keep proving that they can hold their own against much larger schools.
"To have that many quality athletes and that much depth it really shows. It’s just fantastic," Hayes said.
Hayes will need his entire team to show up and swim their best as soon as this weekend. Miners were scheduled to travel to Cedar City on Friday for an invitational meet at Southern Utah University. The event is the first and only time the Miners will have the opportunity to swim against the strong southern teams before they meet again at the state championships. It is also an opportunity to see Canyon View’s Joe Beutler, the best swimmer in the state. Also in attendance will be other top teams including 4A Murray, Region 10 nemesis Wasatch and Tooele.
"It’s going to be a very a good meet to see what happens,’ Hayes said. "This is some of the best competition."
In a new coaches’ poll sponsored by Pico Loco Swim Shop of Salt Lake, the Miners are ranked third in the girls division, behind Judge and Logan. The boys are fourth, with Logan, Ogden and Wasatch ahead of them. Another big win at the invitational could easily move the Miners into one of the top spots. Hayes feels that the girls should already be in second place after a drubbing of Logan at the Park City Invitational.
"I think we are ahead of Logan. We beat them soundly," Hayes said.
The Miners have their work cut out for them. Not only are they facing quality competition across the board, they are also swimming against many teams that are far more familiar with SUU facility.
"We’re going to test ourselves against the competition," Hayes said.
Hayes is also looking forward to the ongoing improvement of many of his swimmers that were battling illness during November. Senior Dylan Ragland, among others, is just getting into peak shape after being sick for the last few meets. With short weeks and back to back meets, energy and focus are also performance factors for the entire team.
"We’ll do our best," Hayes said.
The final day of the invitational at SUU will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2.
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The Park City police responded to a series of accidents involving drivers and wildlife, indicating at least one of the animals was killed during a collision.