Husky swimming wraps up ‘outstanding year’
Feb 27, 2017 01:59PM ● Published by Travis Barton
Senior Timothy Hui swims the 100-yard breaststroke at the 4A state championships. (Travis Barton/City Journals)
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In a region with various schools who have celebrated swimming state championships, Hillcrest High School swim team had multiple swimmers and relay teams qualify for state.
“Overall, I’d say it was an outstanding year,” said head coach Ryan Thierbach.
The Huskies qualified nine swimmers in individual events with five of their six relay teams also traveling to Brigham Young University for the state meet.
Thierbach said qualifying times for state were extremely fast this season.
“This year 4A was the toughest classification by far and you know to even qualify for state was a feat this year. I mean it was that tough. To qualify we’ve never seen times this fast,” Thierbach said.
Five records were broken on the final day of the 4A meet. On the girls side it was the 100-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke, 100-yard breaststroke and 200-yard freestyle relay. While for the boys it was the 400-yard freestyle relay.
“I honestly wasn’t sure we’d have boys that qualified for state. You know, it was that tough and all three of our senior boys qualified in the individual events,” Thierbach said of seniors Eliot Kang, Timothy Hui and Munchie Dow.
Hillcrest’s region holds state champs Skyline along with perennial contenders Olympus, Kearns, Murray and Judge.
“It was a tough region but the kids held their own,” Thierbach said.
Dow took fourth at their region meet in the 100-yard backstroke—a race that included four of the top five finishers at state—with a time of 58.15. While Hui finished third in the same meet for the 100-yard breaststroke and 10th at state with a 1:03.98 for his best time.
Though the season started out rocky for the Huskies, the team felt good about the way they finished.
“Season got off to a little bit of a slow start, slower than I expected. But, in the end, the kids really stepped up—a great finish,” Thierbach said.
Added Kang, “Our team started out kinda jumbly, but we pulled it together right towards the end. We got a lot more wins towards the end so I feel good about it.”
According to Thierbach, many of those wins were due to Kang’s dynamism, swimming in multiple events.
“He really took one for the team this whole year. I swam him all over the place and you know, he was willing to do any event at any time just to help out the team and help us win dual meets. I attribute most of our wins to him, I could just throw him in anywhere,” Thierbach said. “I can’t say enough about Eliot Kang and the way he stepped up.”
At the Huskies’ region meet, Kang finished fourth in the 100-yard freestyle with a 51.19 time and sixth in the 50-yard freestyle at 23.26. In the 500-yard freestyle he beat his best time of the year by almost seven seconds.
“I kinda liked it being able to try all the different events and find out what I like the best,” Kang said.
Watching the team grow and finish the season strong was the most satisfying aspect of the season, Thierbach said.
“I think it was watching those boys grow up, especially our senior boys you know. And just the way they stepped up and took charge and they really led the younger boys in the right direction,” he said.
Heading into next year, the Hillcrest coach is very encouraged for the girls team. The team will have important contributors like freshman Uso Tagoai, junior Gabrielle Ciet and sophomore Katelyn Davies returning.
“We have a young team,” Thierbach said of the girls. “We had some freshman really step up, as a matter of fact I think I used all our freshmen girls here at state. That’s really boding well for the future.”
Though Kang will be graduating, he said it has been a special four years with the swim team.
“Because it really is like a family, like I’ve been on the team for four years and I see it as my family for four years. We’re all really, really close,” Kang said.