2012 All-Tribune Boys Swimming and Diving - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

2012 All-Tribune Boys Swimming and Diving

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Posted: Thursday, December 13, 2012 4:59 pm

Brophy swim coach Pat O’Neill knew Gabriel Espinosa was the favorite to win the 50-yard freestyle at the Division I state championship meet in early November.

But in a race that short, it’s never a sure thing.

A slow start or a bad turn can drop a favorite in the blink of an eye.

“The 50’s the worst,” O’Neill said. “There’s really about 20-to-30 bad things that can happen in a 50 race. And one of those can be the difference between finishing first and third.”

Espinosa, though, had been working too hard to allow for any mistakes. After second-place finishes in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles a year ago as a junior, the Brophy senior was intent on finishing his career as an individual champion.

O’Neill watched intently from the pool deck, finally relaxing a bit as Espinosa increased his lead on the back stretch.

“From the minute he stepped on the block until I saw the ‘1’ next to his lane in the display, I was nervous,” O’Neill said. “Anything can happen in those races. But once I saw him come up after his turn, it looked like he had a yard, yard and a half on the second-place guy. Once he got up and started churning, I knew he was probably going to win it.”

Espinosa won the 50 with a time of 20.67 seconds, outlasting teammate Bradley Dorsey by three-tenths of a second.

He won the 100 as well in 45.04 seconds, registering a second automatic All-America time of the day. He added a pair of relay titles with his Broncos teammates, and the impressive effort has earned him the Tribune’s Boys Swimmer of the Year award.

While all the glory came on that day, it was the hard work Espinosa put in during the off season which set him up for the payoff.

Once the swim season ends, it’s hard for coaches to keep their athletes motivated.

It’s cold out, final exams pop up and holidays interfere.

“There are a lot of distractions which can keep them away,” O’Neill said.

But not Espinosa. He didn’t miss a practice, intent on winning individual state titles after the silver finishes in 2011.

The short races are all about technique, and he spent hours fine-tuning his craft.

He will attend Virginia next season, and O’Neill sees a bright future for Espinosa as he leaves the high school scene with the titles he wanted.

“He would mention it periodically throughout the offseason, that he’s not going to be second place,” O’Neill said. “He didn’t miss any practices and he was doing extra weights sessions. He was tremendously motivated by it.”


All-Tribune First Team

Name                        Yr.   School       Event     Comment

Bradley Dorsey          Jr.    Brophy      50 Free    Three-tenths of a second behind Div. I star Espinosa

Gabriel Espinsoa       Sr.    Brophy    100 Free    Titles, All-America times in 50 and 100 Free

Lukas Williams          Sr.    Brophy    200 Free    Won D-I title by more than one second

Josh Olszewski         Sr.    Horizon    500 Free   Cruised to D-I title

Michael White           Sr.    Dobson      200 IM    Won D-I titles here and in 100 breaststroke

Alex Schultz              Sr.    Gilbert     100 Back   Repeat champion in D-I

Matthew Anderson   So.   Arcadia  100 Breast  Won D2 title, second in 200 IM

Joseph Starkweather  Jr.  Notre Dame 100 Fly  Second in D-II, won 50 free

Bryce Farabee          Sr.   Highland    Diving     Won D-I state championship

Swimmer of the Year: Gabriel Espinosa, Brophy

Coach of the Year: Dave Tait, Queen Creek: The Bulldogs finished in third place in Division II and surpassed 200 total points.

All-Tribune Second Team

Name                       Yr.   School         Event      Comment

Nicholas Magana      Jr.  Desert Mtn.   50 Free    Third fastest in state

Seth Maddy              Sr.  Mesquite   100 Free     Third in Division I

Ben Fitch                  Sr.  Mtn. Pointe  200 Free   Third in Division I

Antonio Ramiez        Fr.    Arcadia      500 Free   State champion in Division II

Kyle Ewoldt             So.   Highland     200 IM     Second-fastest in state behind White

Austin Drummond    Jr.    Chaparral   100 Back  Second in Division I

T.J. Decker               Sr.     Brophy    100 Breast   Edged out by White; second in Div. I

Ryan McCoy             Jr.    Brophy        100 Fly     Fourth in D-I; All-America consideration

Sheldon Solomon    Sr.  Queen Creek  Diving    Captured Division II title

Honorable Mention

Arcadia: Danny Bullington, Sr., 50 free, 100 breast; Brophy: Jonas Fowler, Jr., 200 IM; Mountain View: Edgar Febres, Sr., 100 breast; Notre Dame: Jack Poupore, Sr., 50 free; Braxton Bilbrey, Fr., 200 IM; Paradise Valley: Brian Nebeker, Sr., diving; Queen Creek: Cason Flygare, Jr., 200 free, 500 free; Red Mountain: Ross McDonnell, Jr., 500 free.

Memorable moments from the 2012 season

Michael White’s surge: If Brophy came calling, Michael White very well could have ended up there for his high school years. Instead, he followed his coach, Jeff Anderson, to Dobson, a school which can’t hold a candle to the Broncos’ swimming success. But none of that mattered at the state meet. The Dobson senior won two state titles by finishing first in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard breaststroke. He and Brophy senior T.J. Decker had identical preliminary times in the 100 breast, but White touched the wall first in the finals by nearly a half-second.

Back-to-back: Gilbert senior Alex Schultz defended his 100-yard backstroke title from a year ago. He finished the state meet in a time of 50.71 seconds, beating out Chaparral’s Austin Drummond, who finished in second place in a time of 51.44 seconds. Schultz’s time was good enough for All-America consideration. He also finished as the top East Valley placer (third overall) in the 100-yard butterfly.

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[Stats Courtesy of MaxPreps]