Chris Pickard just got done finishing with the second-fastest time in state history in the 200-meter freestyle, and he didn’t even win a state title.
For many people, that would mean disappointment, but Pickard didn’t mind.
The Arcadia senior swimmer had raced against Goodyear Desert Edge phenom Tyler Messerschmidt since they were young, and he knew his longtime rival would get the best out of him. Both swimmers broke the state record in the event at the Swim and Dive Championships, but only Messerschmidt’s time of 1:36.33 will be in the record books, Pickard finished in 1:37.69.
“I really wanted to get up and race Tyler in one of his best events,” Pickard said. “I’ll never be completely satisfied, but there’s no shame in second place. I would rather have the (faster) time than blow away the field. Competition isn’t a bad thing.”
That race, though, wasn’t Pickard’s best stroke. Next up was the 100-meter butterfly, and without Messerschmidt standing in the way, Pickard ended his day with a state title. He finished the race in 48.81 seconds, more than two seconds faster than any other qualifier.
His points helped lead the Titans to a second-place finish in Division II, and also earned Pickard the Tribune’s Boys Swimmer of the Year award.
“It did feel really good to get a title,” Pickard said. “That was the goal at the beginning of the season. It was great.”
Messerschmidt wasn’t the only extra competition for Pickard this season. Last year, there were seven different conferences at state, but this season that was narrowed to just two.
While some swimmers worried about how it would affect them, Pickard again relished swimming at state against new talents. In fact, he wanted everyone swimming in the same meet.
“It would have been awesome if they merged the whole thing,” Pickard said.
Pickard will swim next year at Stanford, where once again he will be tested by some of the best swimmers in the country. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I really fuel off the competition,” he said.
All-Tribune first team
Name School Year Event Comment
Payton Sorenson Mountain View Jr. 50 free Division I title; fastest in state
John Dowd Red Mountain Sr. 100 free Division I champ
Chris Pickard Arcadia Sr. 200 free Second-fastest ever; state champ in 100-fly
Londen Thomas McClintock So. 500 free Division II state champion
Matthew Mozdzen Chandler Sr. 100 fly Division I winner
Alex Brouwer Notre Dame Sr. 100 back Division II champ; fastest in state
Michael Nelson Brophy Jr. 100 breast State title in Division I
Tanner Roe Chaparral Sr. 200 IM State champ; fastest in state
Josh Bidak Horizon Sr. Diving Division I champ
Swimmer of the Year: Chris Pickard, Arcadia
Coach of the Year: Mike Peterson, Red Mountain: Led Mountain Lions to second place finish at state
All-Tribune second team
Name School Year Event Comment
Dion Nielsen Red Mountain Sr. 50 free Third-fastest in state, .5-seconds behind winner
Seth Maddy Mesquite So. 100 free Second in Division I
Brian Stevens Brophy Sr. 200 free Division I champion; second in 500 free
Ben Brouwer Notre Dame Sr. 500 free Second in Division II, third in 200 free
Alex Schultz Gilbert So. 100 fly Third-fastest East Valley time (52.01)
Hunter Thompson Pinnacle Jr. 100 back Second in Division I
Shane Essert Brophy Sr. 100 breast Second in Division I
Chris Webb Brophy Jr. 200 IM Second in Division I
Mike Bidak Horizon Sr. Diving Second in Division I
Arcadia: Hayden Sells, So., Diving; Scott Angell, Sr., 100 breast; Nathan Anderson, Jr., 100 fly; Desert Mountain: Brandon Hughes, Jr., 200 IM; Desert Vista: Connor Dignan, Sr., Diving; Perry: Victor Hernandez, Sr., 100 breast; Queen Creek: Sheldon Soloman, So., Diving.
Memorable Moments from the 2010 season
Matthew Mozdzen’s moment: The Chandler senior qualified for the Division I 100-meter butterfly final in second place behind Salpointe’s Alex Leighton. However, Mozdzen beat out Leighton and two others in a close race to capture the Division I state title in 50.41 seconds. It was an All-American consideration time.
Brophy rolls again: Even added competition couldn’t derail the powerful Brophy swim program. Even with new challengers like Chaparral and Horizon, the Broncos cruised to their 23rd consecutive swim state championship, and 33rd overall. Brophy scored 474.5 points, followed by Red Mountain and Salpointe.