PARK CITY — Like most good coaches, Park City swimming coach Mike Werner is quick to credit his kids. After a one-year hiatus, Werner is back to coaching the Miners — a program that has seen overwhelming success over the years, and will enter this weekend's 3A state championships as clear favorites.
Led by top swimmers such as Roslyn Selznick, Joelle Hess and Kathryn Hale on the girls' side, along with Cole Peterson, Dennis Djunic and Alex Yokubison on the boys, Park City is expected to repeat as champions in both the boys and girls competitions.
That being said. Werner is wary of the competition — pointing out programs such as Cedar City, the Desert Hills girls team and the Juan Diego boys as teams that have his attention.
"We graduated some fast kids last year, and those programs, along with some others — they have some swimmers that can make things interesting," Werner said. "But I like our team and the progress we've made heading into the championships."
The Miners will again field a deep team, which typically complements the top swimmers well, along with being a secret to their success, over the years.
"We have a group that will accept anyone that wants to be part of the program," Werner said. "It doesn't matter if it's their first year, second or whatever. It's a very inclusive group and a very hard-working group. It's just a blessing for me to be their coach."
3A state competition will begin Friday and conclude Saturday. It will be held at BYU.
The 5A competition runs from Thursday to Friday at BYU, and looks to be perhaps the most competitive of all four classifications.
In the boys' competition, it's Viewmont that has emerged as a real swimming power, after winning two straight championships. The Vikings look strong again, but will have to contend with top programs such as Brighton, which is considered to be perhaps the deepest squad entering the state championships.
Sky View will look to repeat on the girls' side, and will contend with programs such as Brighton and West to win it all.
Skyline proved dominant in both the boys' and girls' competition last season, and will enter the 4A championships as favorites to repeat.
"We lost some good swimmers, and while I think we're still a strong team, I don't think we're as strong as we were last year," said Skyline coach Mike Pereira at the start of the season. "We'll have some tough competition — particularly from Highland, which is a program that is really going strong. And then there's Cyprus, which is really making good strides with what they do."
Other programs looking to make noise in the 4A competition include the Timpview boys team and Wasatch. The 4A championships begin Friday and will conclude Saturday at BYU.
North Summit will looks to repeat as champions in the boys' 2A competition with Grand hoping to repeat on the girls' side. The 2A championships will be held on Thursday at the BYU pool.