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PCAT makes winning all wet

Lisa Nyren, Contributing writer

Heading into the 2006 Utah Long Course State Championships at Kearns Oquirrh Park Fitness Center July 26 through July 29, Park City Aquatic Team (PCAT) coach Mike Werner had high hopes for his students. After the PCAT team of 14 students placed 12th overall and many individuals, including Samantha Case, 16, who qualified for the Western Zone Competition Championships in the sprint freestyle and the butterfly events, produced stellar performances, Werner couldn’t be more proud or more pleased with his team.

"I’ve got great kids. There’s a lot of talent up here," he said.

Swimmers on the PCAT team showcased their talents at the state competition. Talie Anchustegui, 12, won the girls, age 11-12, 200-meter backstroke and placed third in the 400-meter IM and 100-meter butterfly, and second in the 50- and 100- meter backstroke.

Jaren Lockwood, 10, grabbed third in the boys 10 and under 100- and 200-meter freestyle races, second in the 50-meter freestyle, and fourth in the 50-meter backstroke.

Most of the PCAT swimmers placed 12th or above in other individual events.

A youth age group swim team, PCAT operates out of the Ecker Hill Aquatics Center in Park City. Werner, who has been a swim coach for 12 years, has served as the sole coach of PCAT for almost a year.

"[PCAT] is a great opportunity for kids who want to swim," he said, adding that PCAT is a year-round club sanctioned by USA Swimming.

Parents of PCAT swimmers are thrilled with the team and even more enthusiastic about Werner. PCAT parent Kris Reese, whose son Ken, 14, has been with PCAT for 4 months, has nothing but praise for PCAT’s coach.

"We have the best swim coach in the state of Utah," she said, adding that she commutes with her son to Park City from West Valley just to work with Werner. "He’s a motivator," she said.

Parent Julia Graf added that Werner can work with any student. "He can coach any swimmer at any level of ability," she said. Her son Trick, 11, and daughter Anna, 9, have been with PCAT for 2 years.

Graf said Werner has a way with the kids. "[After swim meets] everybody comes away feeling better," she said about his coaching and his attitude.

With a great coach on board, PCAT parents love to watch their children swim to victory.

"We’re looking for great things out of these kids," said Reese.

Graf added that the sport offers benefits both in and out of the water. "Swimming is a year round sport," she said, its not like football or basketball that only last for part of the year.

Swimmers compete against the clock mostly, she added, which also sets the sport apart. The coach doesn’t decide who is good enough, the clock does, she said.

Werner added that swimmers are also some of the best students academically. "They learn hard work, dedication, team work and sportsmanship," he said. They carry this discipline into the classroom and other activities, he said.

Monthly registration fees and donations collected by a booster club fund PCAT. Enrollment is rolling, so students can join at any point in the year.

As one season winds down and another begins, Werner looks forward to further success in the coming months. "We’re going to swim even faster, we’re going to do even better," he said.

Right now, Werner will focus on the Zone Championships, scheduled to take place in Fresno, California August 8 through 12. He has been invited to serve as an assistant coach at the meet where he will also mentor fellow swim coaches.

For more information about PCAT including full meet scores and registration information visit http://www.pcatswim.com


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