Alta Swimming Winning With Smaller NumbersDec 19, 2014 02:17PM ● By Ron Bevan
Senior members of the Alta swimming team are, from left, Ericka Bytendorp, Mianna Sullivan, Melissa Yauney, Eden Jensen, Jessica Christensen, Taylor Robison, Ellie Mitchell and Tanner Liddell. (Not present was Miranda Spicer).
The program grew for years, but this year’s Alta swimming team is now down to a smaller number of athletes. The size of the team hasn’t taken the bite out of the program, however.
“We have already started off with one win on the girls’ side and two on the boys’ in dual meets,” Alta swimming coach Patrick Thurman said. “We may be small in numbers, but we have swimmers that want to compete.”
Alta boasts only 40 swimmers on this year’s team, down from about 75 two years ago. There are 25 girls swimming and 15 boys. But it is in the experienced upper classes where the Hawks are suffering a drought.
“I have the smallest senior class I have ever had,” Thurman said. “There is only one senior boy and seven senior girls. We might not have the swimmers we have had in the past, but we do have quite a few who have state experience.”
Leading the girls’ side is captain Eden Jensen. The senior butterfly stroke specialist has been a state qualifier since her freshman year.
“She has been one of our strengths this year,” Thurman said.
Also leading the girls’ side is senior sprint specialist Miranda Spicer, who is also a four-year state qualifier.
“Spicer is also on the soccer team,” Thurman said. “She has a very competitive streak in her and has the ability to back it up.”
The two leaders on the boys’ side are both juniors. Cameron Horton competed in two events at state last year as a sophomore, while Haven Le Mon appeared in four events. Horton swims the freestyle events, while Le Mon does the breast stroke in medley events, involving all four swimming strokes of backstroke, breast stroke, butterfly and freestyle.
“The two are very competitive but have a bit of a goofy, fun side,” Thurman said. “They help to keep the practices loose but know how to turn it on when the time comes.”
With just a handful of experienced swimmers, Thurman is looking to them to bring the new swimmers along and introduce them to Alta’s style of swimming.
“The veterans are having fun this year,” he said. “They are also making it fun and welcoming, even for brand new swimmers. Our new swimmers are not just freshmen; we have some juniors and seniors that have come out for the first time.”