Miners swimming keeps one eye on state entering season’s second half
December 21, 2017
The Park City High School swim team is just about halfway through the season, and so far it's shaping up to be another good one. The girls team in particular has been outstanding, brushing off its competition, including larger schools, in recent meets.
Last week the team raced against Skyline and Brighton – both in Class 5A – and won both meets handily (208 points to Skyline's 134, and 185 to Brighton's 103), and so far the Miners girls have not lost this season.
Senior Katie Hale and junior Elise Beller have a lot to do with that.
"Both try and lead by example and put on a good show," head coach Mike Werner said.
During the meet against Skyline, the two were pivotal.
Hale finished first in the 200-yard medley relay and 50-yard freestyle and took third in the 100-free while Beller took second. Beller took first in the 200-yard freestyle and helped PCHS win the 400 freestyle relay and the 200 medley relay, as did Hale.
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Werner said the two are at the forefront of a team that's very focused on adding to the trophy case, even after moving into 4A among teams that competed in 5A last year.
"We have a group of kids that want to come together and continue our tradition of excellence," he said. "They know what it took to get on top and they want to stay there. It's a little bit of a different kind of challenge when you have a target on your back as opposed to being an underdog."
Werner said both the girls and boys teams are strong in the backstroke, individual medleys and distance events, though over the past week swimmers have tried different roles in search of better combinations. Werner said letting swimmers try new roles breaks up the monotony of racing in the same event meet after meet. He's also hoping some of the new combinations will result in a deeper sprint lineup — something the Miners have lacked.
"The 50 and 100 tend to be deeper and faster events," Werner said. "This year we are trying to get more kids into them. Hopefully later in the season we can get a few kids to step into the sprint events and help us out."
Looking ahead, Werner said Skyview and Desert Hills will likely be the girls' best challengers at state. Mountain Crest and Desert Hills are expected to be the top competitors on the boys side.
The Park City boys will be in that top group as well. The team fell to Mountain Crest at the Park City Swimvitational by fewer than 10 points two weeks ago.
While Brighton and Skyline both beat the boys team by 100 points or more in recent meets, Werner expects the boys to also be contenders for the 5A title. "They definitely have the numbers but we have the same quality," Werner said.
The Miners will travel to Box Elder on Jan. 9, and will race against Wasatch on Jan. 18.
To win another state championship on both sides, Werner said it will take the teams coming together, with younger members improving and finding good positions going into the tournament.
The teams have seven weeks to make that happen.
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