The Daily Universe

BYU swim teams have high hopes for season

Payton Sorenson competes in the pool last season. Sorenson is ranked No. 3 nationally in the 50-meter freestyle. (BYU Photo)

The 2016 swim and dive season is underway, and the teams have competed in three official meets. Although BYU fell short to Arizona State in its most recent meet on Oct. 22, the team is optimistic and has high aspirations for this season.

“I think we’ve been doing great,” junior Preston Jenkins said. “I definitely want to make the NCAA (tournament), that has kind of eluded me freshman and sophomore year. Freshman year I missed it by three-tenths in the 200-back and last year we missed it by three-tenths in the 400-free relay, so I’ve been less than half a second for two years now so that is definitely my main goal.”

Jenkins has been swimming since the age of 9 and has grown increasingly passionate about it throughout the years. He competed in the Olympic trials this past summer, placing No. 37 in the preliminaries of the 100-meter back stroke and so far this season has already shaved up to two seconds off of his last season’s times.

Jenkins swam the first leg of the 400-meter freestyle relay on Saturday, getting the team off to a strong start for an exciting win over ASU. Payton Sorenson finished the race by just barely touching the wall before ASU’s Patrick Park.

Sorenson is a junior who is a sprinter and currently ranked No. 3 in country in the 50-meter free. He also competed in the Olympic trials and placed No. 13 in the 50-meter free semifinals.

“I’ve come close to hitting my best times from last season already so I feel pretty confident about the season, so just got to keep moving forward and not psych myself out too much,” Sorenson said.

As far as personal goals for the season, Sorenson wants to finish in the top three at the NCAA Championships, but he is also passionate about working hard in hopes of making BYU a Top 25 team.

Although most of the events are individual, Sorenson said team support still plays a big role in a good performance.

“It feeds the energy if everyone is cheering for you,” Sorenson said. “I feel like that was a big part in my leg at least of that relay, just hearing the team getting behind us.”

Freshman Tiare Coker, who has always wanted to come to BYU, said being able to swim for the Cougars has been an awesome experience.

“I feel like I’ve been doing pretty well,” Coker said. “I’m really happy with the training, the coaches are so fun and the team just motivates me to do really well.”

Coker has already won several races in the 100-meter butterfly and hit her time of 56.56 seconds for a second time in Saturday’s meet. She also competes in the 100-meter free and has been successful in those races as well.

The swim season will continue through March 2017, concluding with the NCAA Championships. The swim team will travel to UC Davis to compete in its next meet Friday, Oct. 28.