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High school swimming: Park City upsets Wasatch, claims 3A swim crown

Wasatch's Eric Birkin celebrates his first-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly.
Wasatch's Eric Birkin celebrates his first-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly.
August Miller, Deseret News

PROVO — The Park City Miners knew how much it was going to take to upset favored Wasatch at the 3A swimming championships this weekend.

They knew they entered this weekend's all-important showdown with a pre-meet deficit of 30 points.

They knew that, in all likelihood, Wasatch would swim extremely well, which is exactly what the Wasps did.

And they knew that they would need contributions from every corner to overcome the odds and win a state championship.

Well, not only did Park City get contributions from across the board, it got incredible contributions across the board.

Following their first two individuals swims on Saturday, the Miners dropped time in every single one of their remaining 17 individual swims, and the avalanche of momentum they created and subsequently maintained proved to be enough to topple Wasatch.

All told, Park City swam 68 points ahead of its projected total, which is a huge jump, and the Miners finished with a 339-320 win over Wasatch at the end of the 3A meet on Saturday inside BYU's Richards Building.

"It's unbelievable," Park City coach John Harvey said of his team's performance. "That's the only word it — unbelievable."

Harvey put a lot of pressure on Park City's swimmers in Saturday's opening two events, the 100 fly and 100 free, and those guys collectively responded. They got the ball rolling, and everyone else added on to what was happening.

"The environment was just great and everybody fed off everybody's successes," said Harvey.

Nowhere, perhaps, was that more evident than in the 100 back and 100 breast near the end of the meet. Seeded 2-6-11-17 in the 100 back, Park City's Hayden Peterson, Wesley Smith, Gabriel Campbell and Travis Perry each swam out of their minds to move up to 1-4-8-12 and close Wasatch's virtual lead to just three points.

Park City's three swimmers in the next event, the 100 breast, all moved up to erase the remaining deficit and put the Miners in position to complete a pretty epic performance.

And the Miners completed their improbable comeback as stars Dusty Ragland and Griffin Pool paced Park City to a convincing win in the meet's final event, the 400 free relay.

Pool won individually on Saturday for Park City in the 500 free, and he was pretty awestruck by what his teammates did between his swim in the 500 free and his swim in the relay.

"It was so crazy," Pool said of Park City's stretch run. "I think people got more motivated, and it's kind of the seniors realizing this is their last chance to do all the best that they can. … It just all comes down to who really, really wants it more."

On this occasion, Park City certainly showed the rest of the state that it wanted it most.

Besides Pool's win in the 500 free and Peterson's win in the 100 back, several other swimmers shined individually on Saturday.

Judge star Oliver Diamond won the 100 free, Wasatch star Eric Birkin won the 100 fly and Jacob Wilson of ICS won the 100 breast.

e-mail: drasmussen@desnews.com