Hillcrest Swimmers Prepare to Take on Tough Region
Dec 07, 2015 08:58AM ● Published by Bryan Scott
By Ron Bevan
Midvale - They came within a few points of taking a region crown last year while competing in the 5A ranks. But a move down to 4A didn’t make it any easier for the Hillcrest Huskies.
“We are in perhaps the toughest region in all of swimming, no matter what rank,” Hillcrest swimming coach Ryan Theirbach said. “We have Skyline in our region, which has won the state championship five straight years.”
Hillcrest dropped to the 4A ranks this season after seeing a decrease in the studentbody. But the Huskies landed in Region 6, home of Skyline and a virtual who’s who of 4A swimming school. Kearns and Murray are also in the region. The two schools finished second and third, respectively, to Skyline at last year’s state championships.
Also in region 6 are Judge, Cyprus and Olympus. All three have previously won state titles, as has Kearns and Murray.
“We are the only school in our region without a swimming state championship,” Theirbach said. “But that isn’t something we can dwell on. Our kids are going out there week in and week out just trying to improve our times. With that will come future accolades.”
Hillcrest has about 45 swimmers out for this year’s season, a number Theirbach said is about average for the team. There are a handful more girls on the team than boys.
Theirbach is relying on 11 seniors to help lead this year’s squad, a larger number of upperclassmen than normal. There are six seniors on the boys side and five on the girls.
“They are a talented group, my seniors,” Theirbach said. “They provide quality leadership for the younger swimmers and help us put points on the board.”
The boys are led by seniors Jed Day, Nick Skorut, Michael Atkinson, Joe Pope, Kaden Miyagishima and Dalton Dallimore.
Skorut is one of four captains on this year’s boys team. He brings the most experience of all swimmers, having qualified for state the past two years. He finished seventh in the 50-yard freestyle sprint at state last season.
“He is a strong, motivated swimmer that is looking to improve on his times,” Theirbach said. “He is hoping to be able to swim collegiately.”
Day is also a captain this year. He is a butterfly and backstroke specialist who has improved in both strokes over the last three years.
“Day has really come a long way since he was a freshman,” Theirbach said. “His technique and speed has improved where he is in a great position to qualify for state this year.”
Atkinson and Pope are also captains. Both are utility swimmers that can help out wherever the team needs them.
“I can throw them around into different events and strokes and they both respond well,” Theirbach said.
Both Dallimore and Miyagishima played this season on the football team before joining the swimming team already in progress. Although the football season throws off their timing, both are expected to be at full speed by regions.
“We didn’t have Dallimore last year because he had a broken ankle.” Theirbach said. “But he should be ready to go for us this year. Miyagishima improved his time so much last year after football. He even shaved 10 seconds off his time just at regions, which helped us nearly win.”
The girls are led off by five seniors. The group includes Caroline Young, Janella Williams, Keisha Slagowski, Cythian Olivares and Kailee Decker.
Young is perhaps one of the smartest swimmers. She carries a 4.0 grade point average and also competes on the tennis team.
“Young is a very bright girl and dedicated athlete all the way around,” Theirbach said. “She puts her time in for tennis and swimming and her efforts helped the girls freestyle relay team break the school record last year.”
Williams is the distance freestyler on the team, and Slagowski is the sprint freestyler.
“I had Slagowski swim the 100 butterfly at our last meet and I was really impressed with her,” Theirbach said. “She will be doing that stroke as well the rest of the year.”
Olivares is a breaststroke racer who just missed qualifying for state last season, but is on track this year.
And Decker, like several of the boys, is a utility swimmer Theirbach can use where the team needs her.