The 5A state swim meet usually is a combination of the crowning of long-awaited champions and the emerging of new stars. Plenty of both were on display Saturday at Mesa’s Kino Aquatics Center, playing host to the state swim meets for the first time.
Dominant Phoenix parochial schools Brophy and Xavier again easily took team 5A-I titles — 11 straight for Xavier and 22 in a row for Brophy. But in its first year at the higher classification, Scottsdale Chaparral won 5A-II titles in both the boys and girls competitions.
“They rose to the occasion,” said Firebird coach Laura Winslow. “The kids were outstanding. They went out for it.”
Chaparral shocked longtime dominant 4A-I Tucson Catalina Foothills last year in winning the girls meet but moving into 5A-II with Phoenix Pinnacle meant another level of competition.
“Someone asked me if it was the beginning of a dynasty and I said, 'no, we’re moving up, it’s a completely different group,” Winslow said. “And now I say same thing. It’s not the beginning of a dynasty, we have to start over and prove ourselves. We did last year against Catalina (Foothills) and hopefully we’ve proved it this year.”
The Firebirds amassed 386 points on the girls side and 320 on the boys side. Pinnacle’s girls scored 326 points and Scottsdale Desert Mountain placed third (282). The Phoenix Horizon boys were second with 259 points.
The Firebirds had several state champions to earn their titles – Tanner Roe and Cody Vitez each won twice and the boys won two of the three relays. The Firebird girls swept the relays and won two individual golds. One was a slight surprise.
Senior Malia Johnson pulled off a minor upset in the 100-yard butterfly by beating sophomore teammate Leticia Lelli, the top qualifier and defending state champion by .05 of a second.
“It felt good to win one my senior year,” Johnson said. “Leticia is really good, she really pushed me and it worked out.”
Ashley Brewer won the 100 backstroke with a sparkling 56.87 time, well ahead of long-time rival Lindsey LaPorte of Pinnacle (58.15) and Ally Loper of Desert Mountain (58.56).
“This is my last high school meet ever, I’m headed to Texas next year so I wanted to swim like a Longhorn, I just wanted to go for it,” Brewer said.
Pinnacle’s other star, Ashley Evans, finished her career with a pair of automatic all-American times in the 200 and 500, in winning back-to-back state titles.
Chaparral’s Vitez won the 200 individual medley over Desert Mountain’s Tyler Johnson by nearly two seconds and then took the 100 breaststroke in a 1:00.61, not quite what he wanted.
Roe took the long-distance events, knocking more than seven seconds off his 500 preliminary time and nearly two seconds off his 200 time.
Tempe Marcos de Niza diver Sam Dorman won his third straight state title, earning 574.75 points, nearly 100 more than his closest challenger.
“I wanted to beat 600 points but it didn’t happen, it’s all right,” Dorman said. “Practice, practice, practice allows you to be consistent. I’m still not as consistent as I want to be.”
Once again, Brophy and Xavier cruised to victory but not without a few new challengers. Phoenix Desert Vista and Mesa Mountain View were second and third in both the boys and girls meets.
And the Broncos nearly swept every event – until the last individual race, the 100 breaststroke.
College-bound Harrison Gibson was the fastest qualifier but Gilbert Highland’s Andrew Marcinak outtouched the Brophy senior by .12 of a second in the race, both swimmers earning all-American times.
“Harrison gave me a really good race,” Marcinak said. “I was trying so hard to stay in front, but I’m happy with it.”
Brophy’s state record holder John Wojciechowski came up a little short of his 100 butterfly mark but the Michigan-bound senior still won two events (50 free and 100 butterfly) and finished his prep career on a high note.
“This year felt a little different knowing it was already set, I knew where I was going to college so it wasn’t as nervewracking,” the kid they call “Wojo” said.
Even his little brother Louis – exactly two years younger – got into the act, winning the 100 backstroke.
Meanwhile, in the girls meet, Desert Vista’s Katie Olsen pulled off an unlikely double, setting a state record in the process. Olsen won the 50 freestyle early and then the last individual event, the 100 breaststroke in 1:00.68, nearly a second faster than the 1:01.57 record set in 2006.
“I still didn’t go the time I have been training for,” said Olsen, who said she would like to break the 60-second barrier. “Obviously, I’m still happy with it.”
Another surprise was Mountain View freshman Kat Simonovic, who won the 200 freestyle over Xavier star Haley Krakoski, who is going to swim at Auburn, and finished second in the 100 butterfly, just a third of second behind Xavier double-winner Talie Anchustegui.
“I’m surprised,” said Simonovic. “I wanted to do good and accomplish my goals. I wanted to place and get medals in all my events.”
Chandler’s Sara Jurek had a good showing, winning the 200 IM and getting second in the 500 free behind Mountain View star Emily Christensen, who finished her prep tour with a win.
Team scores: Phoenix Brophy 545, Phoenix Desert Vista 256, Mesa Mountain View 240, Gilbert 177.5, Phoenix Mountain Pointe 142, Tempe Corona del Sol 139, Gilbert Highland 135, Tucson Salpointe 129.5, Mesa 123, Mesa Red Mountain 105, Chandler 88, Chandler Hamilton 86, Gilbert Mesquite 51, Mesa Dobson 41, Mesa Westwood 21, Yuma Kofa 13, Mesa Desert Ridge 13, Tucson 8, Glendale Mountain Ridge 4, Mesa Skyline 4, Phoenix North Canyon 4.
200 medley relay: Brophy (L. Wojciechowski, Gibson, J. Wojciechowski, Stevens)
200 freestyle: Stevens (Bro) 1:39.11
200 IM: Hatfield (Bro) 1:52.27
50 freestyle: J. Wojciechowski (Bro) 20.83
100 butterfly: J. Wojciechowski (Bro) 48.07
100 freestyle: Stevens (Bro) 45.76
500 freestyle: Webb (Bro) 4:34.88
200 freestyle relay: Brophy (Becker , Espinosa, Smith, Mead-Smith) 1:26.34
100 backstroke: L. Wojciechowski (Bro) 50.86
100 breaststroke: Marcinak (High) 57.77
400 freestyle rfelay: Brophy (J. Wojciechowski, Becker, Webb, Stevens) 3:07.01
Team scores: Phoenix Xavier 546, Phoenix Desert Vista 323, Mesa Mountain View 303, Mesa Red Mountain 138, Tucson Salpointe 135, Chandler Hamilton 124, Chandler 124, Phoenix Mountain Pointe 114, Gilbert 108, Tempe Corona del Sol 83, Gilbert Highland 59, Mesa Westwood 56, Mesa Dobson 54, Mesa 45, Glendale Mountain Ridge 31, Casa Grande 29, Mesa Desert Ridge 29, Chandler Basha 17, Tucson 5.
200 medley relay: Mountain View (Allen, Larson, Simonovic, Christensen) 1:45.24
200 freestyle: Simonovic (MV) 1:49.70
200 IM: Jurek (Chan) 2:06.89
50 freestyle: Olsen (DV) 23.45
100 butterfly: Anchuustegui (Xav) 55.36
100 freestyle: Krakoski (Xav) 50.47
500 freestyle: Christensen (MV) 4:58.61
200 freestyle relay: Xavier (Graif, Bender, Keenan, Zsiga) 1:38.14
100 backstroke: Anchustegui (Xav) 56.60
100 breaststroke: Olsen (DV) 1:00.68
400 freestyle relay: Xavier (Anchustegui, Bender, Keenan, Krakoski) 3:28.82
Team scores: Scottsdale Chaparral 320, Phoenix Horizon 259, Anthem Boulder Creek 237, Tucson Rincon 224, Scottsdale Desert Mountain 202, Phoenix Pinnacle 180.5, Chandler Perry 124, Tucson Ironwood Ridge 120, Peoria Centennial 117, Yuma Cibola 106, Glendale Deer Valley 72, Glendale Ironwood 71, Tempe Marcos de Niza 43, Goodyear Millennium 43, Avondale Westview 34, Surprise Valley Vista 33, Marana Mountain View 23, Phoenix Goldwater 11, Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor 6, Surprise Willow Canyon 6, Yuma Gila Ridge 5, Phoenix Camelback 3, Lake Havasu 2.
200 medley relay: Chaparral (Vitez, Roe, Morgan, Rozell) 1:40.20.
200 freestyle: Roe (Chap) 1:42.34
200 IM: Vitez (Chap) 1:55.58
50 freestyle: Brady (Pinn) 21.96
100 butterfly: Heer (DM) 51.99
100 freestyle: Chavarria (Cent) 48.82
500 freestyle: Roe (Chap) 4:33.72
200 free relay: Boulder Creek 1:29.50
100 backstroke: Thompson (Pinn) 53.41
100 breaststroke: Vitez (Chap) 1:00.61
400 freestyle relay: Chaparral (Vitez, Cope, Arn, Roe) 3:14.35.
Diving: Dorman (MDN) 574.75
Team scores: Scottsdale Chaparral 386, Phoenix Pinnacle 326, Scottsdale Desert Mountain 282, Phoenix Horizon 199, Tucson Ironwood Ridge 150, Peoria Centennial 133, Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor 105, Chandler Perry 103, Anthem Boulder Creek 101, Tucson Rincon 78, Glendale Deer Valley 69, Yuma Gila Ridge 57, Marana Mountain View 49, Tempe Marcos de Niza 47, Surprise Valley Vista 47, Glendale Ironwood 44, Goodyear Millennium 37, Yuma 31, Yuma Cibola 20, Lake Havasu 20, Surprise Willow Canyon 19, Kingman 16, Avondale Westview 2.
200 medley relay: Chaparral (Brewer, Dafoe, M. Johnson, C. Johnson) 1:48.57
200 freestyle: Evans (Pinn) 1:49.23
200 IM: Stock (Deer) 2:05.55
50 free: Simpson (Cent) 24.21
100 butterfly: Johnson (Chap) 56.38
100 freestyle: LaPorte (Pinn) 51.69
500 freestyle: Evans (Pinn) 4:49.59
200 freestyle relay: Chaparral (Mouer, Cox, C. Johnson, Lelli) 1:38.93
100 backstroke: Brewer (Chap) 56.87
100 breaststroke: Stock (Deer) 1:03.89
400 freestyle relay: Chaparral (Cox, Brewer, M. Johnson, Lelli) 3:29.45
Diving: McLeod (Rin) 311.50