Park City High School swimmers hope to make a splash |

Park City High School swimmers hope to make a splash

Expectations high for perennial champion

Despite losing several high-profile swimmers last season to graduation, Park City High School swimming coach Mike Werner said this season is going well.

On Nov. 3, the team won the Region 11 invitational, besting six region teams to earn first at home. Both the girls and boys teams finished first, and Park City led the combined score by more than 300 points – nearly 50 percent of second-place Tooele's score.

According to a PCHS bulletin, Daniela Cartwright, Helena Djunic, Katie Hale, Bella Buchanan, Jack Troxel, Emma Strong-Conklin, Cole Peterson and Jessi Beyer each won individual events for Park City. The Miners girls relay teams won all of their events and the boys relays won one.

Nevertheless, Werner said the team has a lot of work to do.

"We swam well inside the flags, but we were a little rough on the turns," he said. "Going into the walls and off the walls, those we have to clean up a lot, and that's something that will develop as the season goes, but we weren't quite as crisp as I would have liked."

That's probably because, with Park City being the reigning four-time state champion, Werner's expectations of the team are high.

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"We pride ourselves on our tradition of excellence, these guys want to continue that," he said. "They know what Park City swimming is all about and they are working on maintaining that teamsmanship and raising the bar. We want to be the leaders."

This year, Werner said the boys team has good depth, and the girls team has received a boost in its ranks from incoming freshmen. Both teams have kept some of the varsity talent that helped win state last year.

"We are pretty well rounded, so it's just a matter of getting four into those big events at state with the new alignment we have with all the new teams," he said. "We have a lot of teams that moved in from (Class) 5A last year into this year's 4A, so it's not going to be a picnic. We are going to have to put some work in if we want to have people chasing us still."

Werner said it would not be easy to fill the swim caps left behind by athletes like Joelle Hess and Rozie Selznick, both of whom were state champions last season.

But this year's team is still full of talent, including leaders like Hale, Dennis and Helena Djunic, Troxel, Peterson, Katie Hill and Elise Beller.

All told, the team has 18 seniors, including some that are swimming competitively for the first time.

"I think that speaks a lot about our program," Werner said. "That people want to be a part of what we are doing, be part of our family and see what we can do."

He said the large group of seniors are tight knit, and in the end, he said the team is theirs.

"It's their year, whatever they want they can do," he said. "Hopefully we will just keep staying at the top."