Mike Werner steps down as PCHS swim coach
The Park City High School boys’ and girls’ swim teams have turned into juggernauts at the 3A level under the leadership of Coach Mike Werner, who has presided over back-to-back state championships for both squads.
This year, though, the Miners will have a new coach at the helm of the program, as Kelly O’Brien takes the reins from Werner. Werner, who is leaving the team to spend more time with his family, has created something special in Park City, O’Brien said.
"He obviously has built a dynasty with the program and made it his own," she said. "I also know that he had big plans for the program and was hopeful to continue that."
O’Brien, who has been an assistant coach with the team since 2012, swam with Indian River State College and the University of Utah during her collegiate career. She said she’s learned a lot from Werner that she’ll use in her own coaching style.
"I’ve seen his style and how good he is with the kids," he said. "I’m excited to continue what he’s built and also put my own spin on it."
O’Brien said her main focus will be to keep building on the way Werner made every single swimmer in the program feel special.
"There are a bunch of different levels of the swimmers," she said. "I’m trying to find a way to incorporate the whole team. I really want to make sure that, as the head coach, I’m spending time with all the different groups. Mike did a great job with that.
"It’s just making sure that each swimmer feels important. He did a good job of spending time with swimmers that may not be the fastest. I want to make sure each swimmer is their own individual self. I want to take the time to know each one and know their strengths and their weaknesses so we can be one team, one family."
She doesn’t expect either the boys’ or girls’ teams to miss a beat this season, as both squads return several key contributors from last year’s title runs.
"We lost some good seniors last year, but I think we’re pretty much doubling the freshmen coming in," she said. "I think we’re going to be a powerhouse. I see only good things the next couple years."
O’Brien said she appreciates the work Werner and the rest of the staff have done to set up the team for success in the near future. She added that she’s excited to get started on her first season as the head coach.
"I want to thank Mike for teaching me a lot and I hope to continue with the state championships," she said.
Park City Mountain Resort is scheduled to start limited summer operations on Saturday, including the operation of PayDay lift for hikers and bikers.