New cast of contributors leading Brighton swim team
Feb 05, 2019 02:06PM
By Josh McFadden
The Brighton swim team is preparing for the Class 5A state meet, Feb. 7–9 at BYU. (Photo courtesy of Todd Etherington.)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
It’s a challenge high school coaches face every single season: replacing key contributors and finding new, emerging talent.
Brighton swim coach Todd Etherington likes how new leaders have stepped up and swimmers have pushed themselves to be better. The Bengals sustained heavy losses to graduation from last year’s boys and girls teams. The boys won the 5A crown, and the girls finished 11th, but both groups said goodbye to a host of top swimmers.
But the Bengals continue to impress.
“With such a large group of influential seniors last year, coming in to this season, it was a bit of a mystery how everyone was going to respond, both in terms of leadership as well as performance,” Etherington said. “This year, we have had a lot of swimmers step up to fill spots by swimming better than they believed they could at the beginning of the season. I am extremely pleased with how well this group has come together as a family and is constantly striving to be the best that they can be by helping each other out.”
It’s never easy for young athletes to take center stage and perform at a high level so early in their careers. But Etherington said several of his freshmen and sophomores have exceeded his expectations. He’s most pleased with the positive attitudes his swimmers have shown, even when the task at hand was daunting.
“What has stood out to me is the drive that the underclassmen have shown to be great,” he said. “While there have been quite a few big accomplishments this season, the ones that stand out the most are the simple times that a swimmer stands up and says, ‘I really can do this.’”
Etherington declined singling out any standout swimmers, saying there are “far too many to list.” Not wanting to leave anyone out, Etherington believes everyone on the squad had contributed in some way.
Brighton is a fixture in the state tournament, on both the girls and boys side. Though the girls fell down in the standings a bit last season, the team was third overall in 2017 and runners-up in 2016. Etherington said in order for the boys and girls to earn points at state and contend for the title, every swimmer needs to focus on his or her own events and times.
“We need to continue striving to be the best team that we can be,” he said. “We can only control our destiny, not that of other teams. To reach our goals, each and every swimmer will need to find their best inside of themselves and bring that out.”
Etherington said this year has been “pretty challenge free,” with the exception of the high turnover from last season. He’s fortunate to have athletes that listen, get along and encourage one another.
“For the most part, I have had an absolutely awesome team to work with,” he said. “They have constantly been working to be the best that they can be.”
Brighton will take part in the Region 7 meet at the beginning of February. The 5A state meet will take place at Brigham Young University Feb. 7–9.