Park City swims towrd State
In two weeks, Park City City High School may need to dust off a spot in the old trophy case, because it’s looking as if the boys swim team could claim a state title for the Miners this year. "If we swim well, we will meet predictions, "said Park City head swimming coach Matt Hayes. Perhaps the best part of the story is how unlikely this possibility seemed at this time last year. Struggling to have enough boys to even compete in every event, the boys were used to playing second fiddle to their female counterparts. But this year, everything changed. The girls graduated a lot of their top girls and their best swimmer, Stephanie Tomlin, headed off for a year-long foreign exchange program. In the meantime, the boys not only got their numbers up, but realized the team was chock full of quality swimmers. Once they knew how good they could be, it was just a matter of putting forth the effort. The boys’ first step toward the title began over the weekend, as the Miners hosted the Region 10 Championship meet, and finished first in the boys’ division and second for the girls. The boys finished with 449 total points to narrowly win the region title over Wasatch with 434, and Judge with 411. It was no contest on the girls’ side, with the Judge Bulldogs finishing with a whopping 614 points to beat out the Miners with 456. "Judge, obviously, is one of the strongest teams, period, in any classification in the state," Hayes said. The Bulldog girls were so dominant that they claimed the top four spots in the 200-yard freestyle. Park City took sixth though ninth place. Judge also took first in every event, except the 100-yard backstroke, where South Summit speedster Sarah Lambert earned the fastest time. The Park City boys also showed some dominance, as Taylor Kinnebrew, Dylan Ragland and Briggs Lyman finished in the top three places in the 500-yard freestyle. Hayes says the boys excel at the longer races. "That’s where we beat everyone," Hayes said. Hayes said that both teams struggled a bit on Friday, the first day of the competition, with the shorter sprint events, but bounced back on Saturday for the longer events. "We had a very slow first day for both the boys and the girls. That tapering is tricky I don’t think people swam as well as they could have, Hayes said. The boys came back in a big way, breaking the school record in the 200-yard medley relay that they had previously set at the Park City Invitational meet. He took full responsibility for the rest discrepancy. Hayes said that tapering off at the end of the season is a bit of a science that he and assistant coach Valentine may have got slightly wrong, but says that the entire team should be rested and ready to go for the state meet. The top 24 swimmers in the state in each race will go to the 3A State Championship. Some slower region champions from less competitive parts of the state may take some of the final spots, but overall only the best of the best will be swimming for the title. Hayes is hoping for season best performances from the Miners both individually and as a team. In the boys’ competition, the Miners will look to beat Logan and Tooele. Park city lost to Logan on the road earlier this month, but Hayes said that the Miners were tired for that meet and expects to swim past them this time, as long as their medley teams swim solidly. "It’s a battle. The other teams are very good. On paper, we do have the best championship meet team. If we swim like it, we will win," Hayes said. The girls are shooting for second place behind the almost unstoppable Bulldogs. "It’s going to take a great effort," Hayes said. "It would be amazing with all of the people we lost." Hayes was not sure if the girls would have a late season rally, but says now they see their potential. "I’m very proud of them. They really worked hard," Hayes said. "They doubted themselves until they realized what was possible. The excitement is there. Against Judge, second is as good as first." Individually, Hayes expects Samantha Case to challenge for the state crown in the 50- and 100-yard freesyle. Brent Weldon could likely walk away with titles in the same races for the boys. Tyler Pool could win the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard breaststroke. Lambert could win a title for South Summit in the backstoke. The 3A State Championship swim meet will be held Feb. 3-4 at Brigham Young University.
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