Dominance at Districts


The water was cold as she dove in. The spectators were cheering loudly. She was running out of breath as she was coming up on her last lap.

If she could just push a little farther. She sprints the last 10 yards and hits the wall a split second before her opponent.

The Sunnyslope swim team won their District meets at their home pool at Cortez last Wednesday. They are now headed to State this Friday and Saturday at Skyline Aquatic Center. These swimmers won Districts last year and are hoping to go for the State championship they didn’t win last year. 

“Sunnyslope Swim has won districts for the past 16 years, this year was our 17th,” said Team Captain Claire Calkins. 

While the team persistently wins District, they haven’t gotten a State Championship in over 15 years. 

“We haven’t won state in a long time probably since I was a swimmer at Slope,” said Swim Coach Cameron Licht. 

There is a big difference in the talent at the district vs the state level creating a difficult challenge for swimmers.

“Our district isn’t considered one of the best districts. So there’s a massive jump between districts and state” said Preston Kasovac 

A large reason for this is our overall team’s strength being able to overcome the challenges together through districts.

“I think that we have very strong relays and better depth helping consistently win during districts,” said Pierson Reiger.

A large obstacle has been added in recent years in the quest to win state. 

“Part of the reason we’ve struggled at state is that 3 or 4 years ago, we moved up from division 2 to division 1 for swim,” said Kasovac

Also, the swimmers that make it to state all have a lot of talent and each race is a battle rarely having a clear winner heading into the race. 

“State is more of a place where it is swimmer vs swimmer but the district is open to entire schools,” said Kasovac

A part of the success at districts has come from the team’s size.

“We often have the biggest team in the district giving us more opportunities to come away with the win,” said Rieger.

A big challenge is posed for our team to not get worse and hold this high standard while attempting to improve year to year.

“We have to continue to win or else we are regressing, district is more of a fun thing for the team and try to beat your best time each year,” said Kasovac.

Because of this winning history, swimmers and coaches feel a lot of pressure to make this year the one they win the trophy. 

“The expectation is that we stay that way… the pressure is on to live up to those expectations and continue the tradition of winning,” said Licht. 

The coaching for this team is a large contributor to this team’s success. 

“I think our coaches were definitely our top contributors. We have one coach, Coach Charlie, who used to be the head coach for GCU, and now he volunteers for Sunnyslope, and he is a huge reason for our success. He knows everything there is to know about swimming, and shares it all with us,” said Calkins. 

Although the coaching is amazing, the swimmers on the team are fantastic teammates.

“The team does a good job of competing against each other and pushing each other to get faster in the water,” said Licht. 

The team continues to be great even with swimmers leaving and joining every year.

“I think it’s kinda like guaranteed that we’ll have better people,” said Duty.

With all of these new swimmers coming in, the team is always evolving and getting a chance at winning State. 

This team’s expert coaching, great team spirit, expanding talent, amazing legacy, and following support, they could have the experience of winning State in the near future. 

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