By Laila Hakkarinen
Photo by Kevin McInnis
When Jack Binder started swimming in the third grade, his parents forced him to do it. Seven years later, he is among the fastest in the state and the sophomore helped Brighton’s 200-yard medley and 200-yard freestyle relay teams take first at the 5A state championships in February.
Binder is motivated and ready to do well, but as the only sophomore on the championship relay teams — featuring seniors Parker Wiest, Brock Harries and Brian O’Neal — he will carry the torch alone next year. Losing those three seniors “sets us back, obviously,” Binder said.
“We all just pump each other up in practice and meets,” Binder said. “We push each other to be better and (not to) let up. (Next year) I’m going to try to get a lot better, and we’ve got some freshmen coming up who will step up. I don’t plan on being any worse next year.”
In the medley relay, Binder’s hard work and dedication paid off when he finished his leg in 26.05 seconds, and the team finished a full second faster than the state record set by Brighton in 2011.
“Breaking that record was amazing,” Binder said. “It was our goal. We just knew we were going to break it. But we didn’t think it was going to be by that much.”
The Canyons Board of Education later honored the relay team at its March meeting for breaking the record.
Individually, Binder helped the Brighton boys team rack up points on its way to a fifth-place finish at state. He finished second in the 200-yard individual medley and fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Friends say the tall, muscular, soft-spoken athlete is known for his sense of humor and dedication. There’s not much time to play, though. Last season, he played baseball for Brighton after swimming season ended and this year, he’s playing water polo for the Brighton club, the defending champions.
Some have wondered aloud whether Binder actually likes swimming. No matter, though. The sport is all business.
“It’s not the most fun sport,” Binder said. “It’s hard. But I like it.”
Winning probably makes that easier.
Brighton High freshman Laila Hakkarinen wrote this story as part of the Preps Utah student journalism program, powered by Bank of American Fork, which will award two of our published student journalists college scholarships at the end of the school year.