Call him a genius or call him a slave driver, but Park City High School head swim coach Mike Werner went into Wednesday’s Region 10 Invite at the Park City Aquatic Center with a master plan.
The day before, he doled out what he called "the hardest workout I have ever given," so the team showed up tired and a little beaten up, according to Werner.
His scheming continued into the meet where many of the Park City kids were swimming in races different than their usual events, some of the girls swim in drag suits at the beginning of the meet, and he had stacked the relay races rather than the individual ones. The team responded well, with the Park City boys beating rival Judge Memorial by 90 points and the girls finishing 100 points behind the Bulldogs.
"Considering what they went through the day before, I was really happy," Werner said. "The boys swam out of their minds."
He said the girls swam very well too. He said that the 100-point differential between Park City and Judge is deceiving. Had he not stocked the relays to ensure wins for Park City, then those same girls would have surely turned in more top performances in individual races. And the drag suits also affected the outcome. Much like wearing running shorts over their suits, the drag suits allow swimmers to maintain their strokes but work harder against the resistance of the extra materials. Werner said drag suits early in the season help him to determine which kids to put in each race.
The Region 10 Invite was actually Region 10 with a twist, with Park City Judge and Wasatch representing the league. Also in attendance were Summit County schools including South Summit, North Summit and The Oakley School. Juan Diego Catholic High School also participated in the meet.
Although the Miners were eager to compete against all of the schools, their focus was definitely on the Bulldogs, who are not only rivals but usually their No. 1 contender at the state championships. This is the last time Park City will see Judge before the region championships at the end of the season and Werner was happy to see how well his team fared against them.
"Judge is just as strong as ever," he said. "We lost a lot more to graduation last year than they did."
Despite being tired, many Park City swimmers turned in lifetime best performances, which had Werner almost giddy on the side of the pool.
"I’m ecstatic," he said.
Among those top performers was Mia Greenwald, who swam under a minute in the 100-meter butterfly
"Any time you do that in season is special," Werner said.
Also turning in a winning performance was Briggs Lyman, whose split times in various relay races was faster than times he turned in during the state championship. He was joined by Griffin Pool, who won the 50-meter freestyle in the first heat. Both boys swam in both relay and individual events and dominated all of them.
"We didn’t just swim individually strong," Werner said. "That’s the nice part."
He said that thus far this season, the Miners have swam strong in every meet, regardless if they are facing top schools like Judge or Logan or smaller school like North Summit.
"Our kids love to race," he said.
They will have an opportunity to race a team that they have never raced next Tuesday when they swim against 4A Mountain Crest.
Mountain Crest boasts some of the fastest male swimmers in the state and also has a good girls’ squad.
"They’ll get that racing feeling again," Werner said. "They get that new opponent."
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Park City officials are preparing to take what is considered to be an important step in protecting the Treasure land from wildfires. City Hall in early June requested proposals from firms interested in the work.