Four-peat complete: Eagles swimming continues dynastic reign
Swimmers, Head Coach Joe Pereira and Principal Doug Bingham all raise one finger after jumping in the diving tank to celebrate their state championship. (George Karahalios/GP Photography)
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If familiarity breeds contempt, the rest of 4A must loathe the Skyline High School swim team. The Eagles won their fourth-straight swimming state championship (sixth straight for the girls) at the Brigham Young University natatorium on Feb. 11.
“Completing the set of four years and never losing is a good feeling,” said team co-captain Alex Zini of the senior class goal.
Between the boys and girls teams it marks the 27th and 28th state titles, continuing to cement the program’s legacy as one of the best in state history.
“We were two weeks ago at region thinking, ‘Well we have a pretty good team, hopefully we can put it together,’ and they did it tonight,” said Head Coach Joe Pereira.
Celebrations for the two championships saw players, coaches and even high school principal Doug Bingham leap into the diving pool.
Pereira said this victory felt different with multiple swimmers earning points for the team, whether it was in the relays or individual races.
“We had some kids who didn’t get to be on the awards stand other than with the team trophy,” Pereira said. “(They were) very successful in that they helped other kids along, not as an all-state on their own, but as a group, as a team they’re willing to give up for the whole team and that’s what makes this year a little different than most.”
Pereira pointed out the underclassmen who had never swam at the state meet before that played vital roles in the team’s performance, from sophomore girls overcoming sickness or nervousness to sophomore boys Henry Springmeyer and Kade Colarusso who helped cushion the Eagles lead on day one of the meet.
“They didn’t falter, they didn’t stutter, they swam really well and held up their end,” Pereira said.
Having every swimmer perform to their best was a testament to the team cohesion they achieved.
“It was the upperclassmen and underclassmen coming together, and when you start that in October you don’t know if it’s ever going to come together,” Pereira said.
While Pereira credited the upperclassmen for being examples and creating that unity, co-captain Max Trevino attributed the underclassmen’s abilities as to why the program’s special.
“We have a lot of incoming sophomores and freshmen every year that really work hard and help us get to be champions,” Trevino said.
One of those sophomores, Becca Goodson, took first in two events, the 200-and 500-yard freestyles. She is already using it as motivation for next year.
“Having exciting moments like those (wins) are really special because that’s what helps me keep training all year,” Goodson said. A year ago, she won the 100-yard butterfly at state.
The Eagles also came away with victories in the boys and girls 200-yard medley relays that helped continue the state championship tradition.
“Every year gets a little harder, but every year gets a little better,” Zini said. He, along with Trevino, said this championship was the most difficult.
But the championship itself isn’t what gives Pereira the most pleasure; it’s “the struggle to get (there).”
“What’s the price to pay to come out and be successful? Taking home a trophy is material success and that’s not it. Each kid had to overcome different battles and different things that they had to do to be successful. That’s what we’re engaged in,” he said.
And Pereira’s stewardship of the program may be the most instrumental to its recent dominance.
“Joe’s a really great coach,” Zini said. “He can turn a lot of like OK swimmers into really great swimmers, which he’s done with a lot of people and that’s why we’re always so successful.”