Skyline High aims to bring its A game to this weekend's 5A state swim championships, and it hopes other schools will bring theirs.
The Eagles are fairly comfortable favorites to win the meet on both sides. They'll be shooting for their seventh consecutive boys title and sixth consecutive girls title. They don't just want to limp to the wins, however.
Instead, coach Joe Pereira says his swimmers want Skyline's main challengers — West Jordan, Bingham and Brighton on the boys side, and Brighton and Kearns on the girls side — to step up and go fast.
"The boys want West Jordan to crank it up. The girls want Brighton to crank it up," said Pereira. "They wanna race."
The first eight events of the 5A state meet will be held today, starting at 5 p.m., inside BYU's Richards Building.
At the Region 2 championships two weeks ago, Skyline looked flat and out of sorts. In the realm of swimming, it may have been a very ominous performance for the rest of 5A.
That's because swimmers train to peak just once each year using a method called tapering. The Eagles were just starting to taper right around the region meet and, according to Pereira, they're raring to go now.
"The flatter we (were) at region, the better we'll feel at state," he said.
Senior Sara Nicponski will anchor the girls team and is the favorite to win Swimmer of the Meet. Expect her to shatter her own state record in the 100-yard breast, and the UC Santa Barbara-signee has a chance to break the state record in the 200 IM, too.
Kristina Evans, Marnie Knoop and Lisa Pazzi will help lead the Eagles.
Brighton and Kearns should stage a thoroughly entertaining battle for second on the girls side. Based on seeded times, Brighton holds a projected 43-point lead over the Cougars. However, that could change throughout the weekend.
Natalie Edge, a candidate for Swimmer of the Meet, will lead Kearns and Ali Siggard will lead Brighton.
On the boys side, a trio of seniors will anchor Skyline's title challenge. Those three are Nate Swallow (200 IM and 500 free), Tom Ekstrom (200 free and 100 back) and Mason Childs (50 free and 100 free).
West Jordan has a slim chance of sticking with Skyline's boys team. The Jags feature boys Swimmer of the Meet candidate Jordan Fletcher and a solid supporting cast.
Skyline and West Jordan haven't gone head-to-head before now, and both sides are looking forward to the challenge.
"My kids are ready to take them on," Pereira said.
Brighton and Bingham will be in the mix behind West Jordan.
Lone Peak should finish fourth behind Skyline, Brighton and Kearns on the girls side. But at least six teams could finish fifth. Also, there will be plenty of intrigue surrounding each of the six relay events.
Final Deseret Morning News swim rankings
1. Skyline 1
2. Brighton 2
3. Kearns 3
4. Lone Peak 4
5. American Fork —
1. Skyline 1
2. West Jordan 2
3. Brighton 3
4. Bingham —
5. Kearns 4