Tribune girls swimmer of the year and All-Tribune team - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Tribune girls swimmer of the year and All-Tribune team

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Posted: Sunday, December 24, 2006 7:24 am | Updated: 3:06 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Aleesha Miller was a nervous wreck. As the Mesa Mountain View swimmer awaited her races at the 5A-I state meet, she couldn’t help but think back to last season.

Then a junior, Miller swam well during the season and at regionals, but flopped at state.

This year, she again swam well during the season and at regionals. But Miller wasn’t about to get derailed twice.

Miller swam the 50-yard freestyle in a state record 22.93 seconds and the 100 freestyle in 50.3 seconds on her way to a pair of state titles, not to mention getting a tremendous monkey off her back.

“I was so worried the same thing would happen,” Miller said. “It set up the same way.

“But once I got in the water it totally went away. It took me all year to realize I could do it.”

Miller’s ascension was methodical. She put up her individual best times successively from regionals to state preliminaries to the finals. Last season, Miller said she was geared more for regionals. This year, the focus was one week later.

“We set (winning state) as the goal at the very beginning of the year,” Miller said.

A key ingredient to Miller’s success were the motivational tactics of new coach Mike Wardwell. After former coach Dave Chen left Miller’s club swim team, she began training with Wardwell, who put immediate emphasis on the mental part of swimming.

Wardwell made Miller verbalize her goals and envision the races, and she said doubts about his coaching style didn’t last long.

“He would talk to me and tell me what we were doing,” Miller said. “He was really motivational. It made me more confident.”

A senior this season, Miller will swim for Brigham Young University next year. And she’ll have two state title trophies to decorate her dorm room.

“I cut it close,” she said.

Looking Back


Quick Work: Mountain View’s Aleesha Miller set the state record in the 50-yard freestyle in the preliminaries with a time of 23 seconds. She bested it (22.93) the next day.

Second Option: After tearing her anterior cruciate ligament in gymnastics, Chaparral’s Shelby Cullinen switched sports to diving. She won the 4A-I state title.

Small Scare: While most figured Tucson Catalina Foothills would roll to the title, Chaparral gave the Falcons a scare. The Firebirds finished in second with 358 points, 61 points behind Catalina Foothills.

Double Up: Five swimmers (Mountain View’s Aleesha Miller, Desert Vista’s Nicole McAndrew, Mesquite’s Christine Olson, and Desert Mountain’s Whitney Lopus and Emily Barton) took home two titles in the 5A conference. In 4A, three swimmers (Arcadia’s Katherine Pickard and Lindsey Stevens as well as Scottsdale Christian’s Jennifer Benson) accomplished the feat.

Class 5A Girls All-Tribune first team

Swimmer School Yr. Events Comment

Aleesha Miller Mountain View Sr. 200 Fr./50 Fr. Won both events in 5A-I

Nicole McAndrew Desert Vista Sr. 200 Fr./500 Fr. 5A-I state champ in both

Christine Olson Mesquite So. 200 IM/100 Br. Won both events in 5A-I

Whitney Lopus Desert Mountain Jr. 200 Fr./100 Fly First in both in 5A-II

Emily Barton Desert Mountain Jr. 200 IM/100 Br. Won both in 5A-II

Mychala Lynch Xavier Sr. 100 Fly 5A-I state champ K

elsy Diener Red Mountain Jr. 100 Bk./200 IM 5A-I Bk champ, 2nd in IM

Marissa Johnson Xavier So. Diving State champ in 5A-I

Torrey Loper Desert Mountain Jr. 100 Bk. State champ in 5A-II

Swimmer of the Year: Aleesha Miller, Mountain View

Coach of the Year: Glen Coy, Mountain View (Toros finished second at state to always tough Phoenix Xavier.)

Class 5A Girls All-Tribune second team

Swimmer School Yr. Events Comment

Jaclyn Branning Paradise Valley So. 200 IM/100 Br. 2nd in Br, 3rd in IM in 5A-I

Dani Caldwell Mountain Pointe So. 200 Fr/50 Fr. 2nd in 50, 3rd in 200 in 5A-I

Samantha Maxwell Corona del Sol Sr. 200 IM/100 Br. 3rd in IM, 2nd in Br in 5A-I

Girls All-Tribune second team

Delia Cronin Xavier Sr. 200 Fr. Second at 5A-I

Haley Krakoski Red Mountain Fr. 50 Fr. Second at 5A-I

Traycie Swartz Dobson Fr. 50 Fr./100 Fr. 3rd in both events at 5A-I

Katherine Smith Hamilton Sr. 100 Bk. Second in 5A-I

Angela Duckworth Desert Mountain Jr. 200 IM Second in 5A-II

Malia Johnson Desert Mountain Fr. 100 Fly Second in 5A-II

4A Girls All-Tribune first team

Swimmer School Yr. Events Comment

Katherine Pickard Arcadia Sr. 200 IM/100 Fly 4A-II state champ in both

Jennifer Benson Sco. Christian Jr. 50 Fr./100 Fr. 4A-II state champ in both

Ashley Evans Pinnacle Fr. 200 Fr./500 Fr. Won 200, 2nd in 500 in 4A-I Tamara

Lelli Chaparral Jr. 100 Fly, 50 Fr. 4A-I Fly champ, 4th in 50

Shelby Cullinen Chaparral Jr. Diving State champ in 4A-I

Carter Graves Arcadia Fr. 100 Bk./100 Fly 4A-II Bk champ, 2nd in Fly

Lindsey Stevens Arcadia Jr. 500 Fr./200 Fr. 4A-II State champ in both

Swimmer of the Year: Katherine Pickard, Arcadia

Coach of the Year: Erica McClurg (led once-dominant Arcadia swim program to first state title in six years.)

4A Girls All-Tribune second team

Swimmer School Yr. Events Comment

Danielle Milligan Pinnacle Sr. 200 Fr./100 Fr. Second in both in 4A-I

Lindsey LaPorte Pinnacle Fr. 200 Fr./100 Bk. 3rd in Fr, 4th in Bk in 4A-I

Sarah Cox Chaparral Jr. 100 Bk./100 Fly Second in both in 4A-I

Rachel Ripley McClintock So. 200 IM/100 Br. 2nd in Br, 3rd in IM in 4A-II

D’Arcy Schmidt Arcadia Jr. Diving State champ in 4A-II

Jackie Puschak Cactus Shadows Sr. 200 Fr./500 Fr. Second in both in 4A-II

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[Stats Courtesy of MaxPreps]