PCHS swim teams cruise to first home wins of the season
November 18, 2016
Coming into this season, members of the Park City High School girls' and boys' swim teams have targets on their backs.
As the cream of the crop in 3A, the Miners claimed the state championship for the last three years, and they look to do so again heading into the 2016-17 season.
Park City was able to have some fun when it hosted Tooele and Stansbury in its first region meet of the year at the Park City Aquatic Center because of the vast pool of talent Head Coach Mike Werner has at his disposal.
In the meet, the swimmers were able to pick any two events they wanted to compete in and Werner did his best to get everyone to swim in at least one of their preferred picks.
"They don’t get to do that very often and it's something I wanted to do," Werner said. "You don't get to do that against everybody. … And it gives me something that I can bark at them a little bit and say, 'Hey, you're the one that signed up for this.'"
The rare tactic worked out for the Miners, as the girls' team won all 11 events of the afternoon, making its way to 687 points (159 better than Tooele and 231 better than Stansbury). Meanwhile, the boys' team secured 8-of-11 first-place finishes to score 616 points, with Tooele (594) and Stansbury (433) rounding the meet out.
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Werner was pleased with the overall results, despite trying to have a little bit of fun as the campaign begins.
"I think we had some really nice things [happen on Wednesday]," Werner said. "We swam well. Technically, we've got some little things we need to fine tune. We need to be crisper on our turns and starts, attack inside the flags a little bit more. But in terms of racing, I think they stepped up to race really well today."
On the girls' side, the Miners swept three events in the 200-yard free, the 50-yard free and the 100-yard backstroke. Leading the way was senior Rozie Selznick, who recently signed her national letter of intent to swim at Colorado State next year. She finished with four first-place finishes, two individual and two relay races.
Katie Hale, Elise Beller and Joelle Hess all contributed to three first-place finishes. One of the wins for the quartet of Hale, Beller, Hess and Selznick came during the 200-yard free relay (1:45.85), beating the next-best finisher (also from PCHS) by nearly 10 seconds.
The Miners — with a good mix of upper- and lowerclassmen — were dominant for the duration of the meet.
"We had a lot of our beginners and kids, who are just getting into swimming, swim really, really fast," Werner said. "I was happy with that."
On the boys' side, Alex Yokubison and Cole Peterson each finished with four first-place finishes between individual events and relays, while Quentin Tyler and Dennis Djunic each contributed to three. Two of the wins for each of those four — Yokubison, Peterson, Tyler and Djunic — came as members of the 200-yard free (1:34.81) and the 400-yard free (3:32.91) relays.
Werner said this was a step in the right direction for the Miners, who are looking to defend their title for a fourth-straight year.
"Coming into this week and be able to be at our home pool in a region meet and swim well this early on, I was really happy with it," Werner said. "Kids were swimming faster than their state times last year. That's always a good way to start off."
Werner and the Miners know that with the bullseye currently fixated on them, there's never a time to get complacent. Mixing things up and having fun in a meet like the one on Wednesday may seem somewhat lackadaisical, but in fact, it's strategic with long-term goals in mind.
"We take it a step at a time, but every meet that we swim is preparation for that," Werner said of the season. "I think the kids are buying into the team and the concept of what we're doing. I just want to make sure we're maintaining that Park City Miner tradition of excellence and try to make whitewater in the pool and get the kids flying."
Next up for the Miners is the "Battle of the Sexes" meet, where the races are mixed between the boys' and girls' teams. As of Wednesday, the meet will only be between Park City swimmers.