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South Valley Riverton Journal

Mountain Ridge swim team hits the water, excited for new season

Dec 01, 2023 11:12AM ● By Josh McFadden

Mountain Ridge swimmer Aiden Tarin, shown here swimming the butterfly stroke, is one of several state qualifiers expected to help the Sentinels boys team defend its region title. (Photo by L1quid Studios)

For the past two seasons, the Mountain Ridge High School boys swim team has won the region title. The girls haven’t been far behind, placing third both years. But head coach Katherine Crenshaw is looking for a lot more than more titles. 

“Our team goals are to create a team legacy by building better athletes, better people and a team family,” she said. “Ultimately, that is what we hope to accomplish this season.”

This doesn’t mean Crenshaw and her team don’t want to do well in the pool. The team is still aiming for more success, and Crenshaw is confident it will continue. 

“We also like to swim fast and win,” she said. “We definitely want to repeat those great finishes. And looking to state, we are hoping to take our largest ever group of qualifiers to compete at state this year and get more of our swimmers on the medals podium. That is several months off, so our expectations now are to work hard to earn those times and those wins, and to have a great time along the way.”

To win another region title on the boys’ side and move up the standings on the girls’ side, Crenshaw is emphasizing doing the little things in addition to focusing on training and conditioning. 

“We have been talking a lot this year about how focusing on the training process will yield greater results than focusing on the end goal time,” she said. “On the team, we call this being root vs. fruit focused. With that in mind, we have been putting a lot of effort into how we’re approaching our training in the pool and weight room, including working on having individual goals for each day and each workout. We have seen some big improvements from this approach and expect to see this help them reach the goals they have set for themselves.”

The Sentinels have several returning state qualifiers on the team. Leading the way is senior Steven Collins, who swam a 1:03.23 in the 100-meter breaststroke and a 2:07.38 in the individual medley last year. Also, junior Huckleberry Burton had a time of 55.01 seconds in the 100-meter backstroke last season, while junior Aiden Tarin swam the 500-meter freestyle in 5:19.11. 

“We expect them to lead and push their teammates this year,” Crenshaw said. “Right now, our team has a lot of depth; a lot of swimmers we believe are ready to step up and take a place as the big point earners for our team. It’s going to be exciting to see who really performs and takes those top spots on the team this year.”

Crenshaw said Mountain Ridge has a lot of strong butterfly swimmers, which is saying something considering it is arguably the most difficult stroke. She is also impressed with the backstroke and breaststroke competitors. The Sentinels have potential in the sprint and distance freestyle events, too. 

“It’s going to be really exciting to see how the team shapes up as we start getting into our meets and clocking times,” she said. 

The Sentinels are young this season, with 75% of the swimmers being freshmen and sophomores. The young team puts Mountain Ridge at a disadvantage, but Crenshaw appreciates how older swimmers are setting the example and pushing everyone else. The Sentinels do have good depth, and many underclassmen are working their way into bigger roles on the team. 

The swim team will be busy in the pool through Feb. 23 and 24 when the state tournament is held at Brigham Young University. Crenshaw can’t wait to see how her team performs. She said she loves this group’s work ethic and attitude.

“This team has so much potential, and they are working hard to achieve their goals,” she said. “They are invested and determined, and that inspires us as coaches to give them everything we can to help them become the best athlete they can be. They also really like to have fun and make us laugh a lot, which makes two-a-day workouts something we look forward to coaching each day. We also see daily how much they care for and encourage their teammates. That makes us proud to be their coaches. As a coach, it’s extremely rewarding to see them push themselves beyond what they thought was possible as athletes, individuals and teammates.” λ