It’s a foregone conclusion that Phoenix parochial schools Brophy and Xavier likely will amass enough points in the state meet at the end of year to continue their long-standing streaks of state titles. Both have excellent athletes returning.
However, swimming in Arizona is automatically more competitive because the schools are divided into just two divisions – and it made for a great state meet last year, the first for the new classifications.
Also, the number of those who qualify for the state meet was increased to 32 from 24, allowing for more surprises.
There will be a competition for the runner-up positions in Division I and possibly Division II, where Tucson Catalina Foothills has dominated for the last decade.
In Division I, Brophy again has nationally competitive swimmers, including state 200 individual medley runner-up Chris Webb, who had the fourth-best time in the 400 IM at the U.S. Junior Nationals in Stanford, Calif., in August, and breaststroker Mike Nelson.
Watch for Mesquite junior sprinter Seth Maddy, who is poised to make a great show this year and may get into a tussle with Mountain View senior Payton Sorenson in the 50 freestyle.
For Xavier it will be Alisha Bender, who was second in the 100 and 200 but also may compete in the 500-yard event this season.
Add in state runner-up Talie Anchustegui (100 butterfly and 100 backstroke) and a usual cohort of relay specialists, and it’s another strong team looking to lengthen its 12-year hold on the state championship at the highest level.
Red Mountain junior Sami Guttmacher was second in the 50 a year ago, clocking an unheard-of 22.7-second split. She also competed in the 100 butterfly this year and has clocked times that would have put her somewhere on the winner’s stand at last year’s meet.
She is still recovering from a foot injury, but should be ready for the biggest meet in two months.
Teams to watch
Brophy: The perennial favorite with a deep roster of athletes and relay members will look for its 24th straight state title.
Mountain View: Led by sprinter Payton Sorenson, the Toros are strong in the relays, which could get them plenty of points in November.
Mountain Pointe: Distance swimmers could make the difference by season’s end.
Arcadia: Could challenge Tucson Catalina Foothills for Division II title
Notre Dame: The Saints lost several key contributors to graduation, including the Brouwer brothers, but are building a tradition.
Xavier: Distances and relay teams are strong again this year.
Chaparral: Deep in the specialty strokes but relay teams would have to pull off upsets to knock off the champs.
Mountain View: The young Toro swimmers now have some experience facing the best.
Valley Christian: Returning state champions in two events is a great base to build from
Arcadia: Titans relay teams could be the difference in Division II.
Boys swimmers to watch
Connor Engelman, Mountain Pointe, Sr. (100 breast): Fifth in state last year
Seth Maddy, Mesquite, Jr. (50, 100 freestyle): Took second in the 100 free and fourth in the 50 in 2010
Ian Roberts, Saguaro, Jr. (500 free): Finished in the top five in his first two years
Alex Schultz, Gilbert, Jr. (100 backstroke, 100 butterfly): Fifth in both events last year
Hayden Sells, Arcadia, Sr. (diving): Defending Division II state champion has sights set on repeat
Sheldon Solomon, Queen Creek (diving): Will challenge Sells again this year
Payton Sorenson, Mountain View, Sr. (50 free, 100 back): Won the 50 last year and was third in the 100 back
Londen Thomas, McClintock, Jr. (200, 500 freestyle): Won both distance state titles a year ago
Chris Webb, Brophy, Sr. (200 IM, 200 freestyle): Competed in U.S. Junior Nationals this summer
Michael White, Dobson, Jr. (200 IM): State finalist in 2010 among most improved in E.V.
Girls swimmers to watch
Alisha Bender, Xavier, Sr. (100, 200 freestyle): Will anchor loaded Gators after second-place finish in both events in 2010
Megan Cox, Chaparral, Sr. (200 IM, 500 freestyle): Defending state champ in 200 IM was also second in 500 freestyle
Sami Guttmacher, Red Mountain, Jr. (50 freestyle, 100 butterfly): Sprinter seamlessly added butterfly during offseason
Clara Jenck, Mountain Pointe, Jr. (100 backstroke, 200 freestyle): The French-speaking performer was third in both events last season
Briana Jurries, Valley Christian, Jr. (100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke): Won both events at Division II state meet a year ago
Kathleen Mulligan, Xavier, Jr. (200 IM, 100 backstroke): Competed in 200 backstroke at U.S. Junior Nationals in August
Mikala Nelson, Valley Christian, Sr. (100 butterfly, 100 backstroke): Fifth in backstroke in 2010; has state title potential
Kat Simonovic, Mountain View, Jr. (200, 500 freestyle): Defending champ in Div. I for both events
Sept. 10: Mesa Relays (at Kino Aquatics Center)
Sept. 17: Wolves Classic Invitational (at Chandler)
Sept. 24: Brophy/Xavier Invitational
Oct. 1: Coyote Classic (at Skyline); Nike Invitational (Tucson)
Oct. 21-22: State Diving qualifying meet
Nov. 4-5: State championships (Skyline Aquatics Center)