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Sandy Journal

Alta swimmers have a solid year in the water, push themselves beyond their comfort zone

Feb 22, 2017 02:21PM ● By Billy Swartzfager

A couple of Alta swimmers neck and neck in an event earlier this season. (Kelsie Court/Alta Head Coach)

By Billy Swartzfager | [email protected]
The Alta swim team made many significant strides this season. Individual times were shaved down to personal bests and the team operated as a unit, with captains supporting and cheering one another on at every swim meet during the long season. According to the team’s coach, Kelsie Court, a lot of swimmers made huge strides in their techniques, which resulted in better times.
“The highlight of the season for me this year was region,” Court said. “There were so many swimmers that dropped an incredible amount of time.”
The Alta swimmers are led by Court, who is in her first year as head coach of the team and by a number of captains, all of whom are seniors. Ethan Christensen, Amber Gassman, Hunter Passey, Molly Peterson and Lauren Vosti are the leaders of the Hawk swimmers for the 2016–17 season. Their goal as a group was to focus on team unity and to cheer for each swimmer at every meet and every race. According to Court, they have all been fantastic at leading and creating team unity.
“They have been encouraging others to give it their all in practice,” Court said. “They have also been very helpful to the coaches during practice by demonstrating various techniques in the pool.”
The team this season was made up of nearly 40 swimmers who were a part of the team last year, which has been huge in terms of the team’s improvement and continued growth. After the region meet, a few Alta swimmers qualified to compete at the state meet, which was Feb. 10 and 11 at Brigham Young University. Alta was represented by their boys 400 free relay team and by Nathanael Bookout in the 50 free. Bookout dropped significant time at region in order to qualify for the state meet.
The team’s practices begin with warn-ups and quickly head into sprints, endurance swimming, strokes, kicks, starts and turns. The team then might focus on any number of things Court and the other coaches observed from an earlier meet or a decided-upon area of need. During the beginning of the season the group focuses a lot on starts and turns, just so everyone is clear on how they should be done.
“Everyone looks forward to region,” Court said. “It is the culmination of about five months of hard training. Everyone has practiced and hour and a half a day, five days a week since October, with dryland training in September.”
Court’s motto for the season was “nothing truly great ever came from a comfort zone.” Adhering to that motto, and keeping her swimmers aware of it, has helped Alta become better as a team and deeper as a group. With so many different swimmers improving and coming back from last year, Court is looking forward to the future.
“A lot of swimmers have made huge strides this year,” Court said. “I am excited to see what they are able to do next year.”
Along with increasing successes in the water, Court is also inspired by and excited for the personal growth she regularly sees when all of the swimmers’ hard work pays off. She and her fellow coaches are encouraged by how proud the boys and girls in the water are when they finish their swim and turn around to see a new best on the timing board.
“The look on their faces made it all worth it,” said Court.