Whitney Lopus’ most enduring memory of her senior year is a regular-season dual meet. Sure, the Utah-bound star won two more state titles, giving her seven in her prep career.
Sure, she has owned the 200-yard freestyle event no matter the classification.
But on Oct. 3, Lopus reached one of the few goals that had eluded her.
“Beating (Phoenix) Xavier, that was the highlight of the season,” said Lopus, who took one for the team that afternoon in the streak-ending meet.
Lopus’ Scottsdale Desert Mountain squad has lived in Xavier’s shadow for years, even the last couple when the Wolves competed in 5A Division II and didn’t have to face the 5A-I Gators at state.
“I was really disappointed when we got dropped to Division II,” she said. “We would face Xavier (during the regular season) but then we felt like we got gypped being in 5A-II.”
It was in those dual meets where Xavier had been unbeatable. The Gators won 217 consecutive meets, dating back to 1984. Until Oct. 3.
“I accomplished just about everything I wanted to, and had so much fun with my team,” Lopus said.
That dual meet was fun for Desert Mountain because coach Chrissy Bodmer used a bit of late strategy, putting Lopus on the “B” or second-string relay team to help the Wolves score enough points to pull off the upset.
But that shouldn’t overshadow Lopus’ outstanding individual achievements. She swam automatic All-American times in all eight of her state final appearances. Her 100 butterfly time of 53.18 in this year’s state meet was just .77 of a second off the national high school record set by Phoenix Shadow Mountain’s Misty Hyman 11 years ago. Hyman won a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics.
And Lopus’ 200 freestyle time was just a third of a second off the state record.
“I had to leave everything out there,” she said. “I really wanted to capitalize on my senior season. This year there was nothing to lose.”
She also set herself up by committing to Utah (and club coach Greg Winslow, the new Utes coach) before the season so she wouldn’t be distracted with recruiting visits during the prep schedule.
That allowed her to enjoy her last prep season, and knocking off an old nemesis.
Looking Back: Memorable moments from the 2007 season
Xavier/Brophy Invitational: Newcomers Ashley Evans (sophomore) of Phoenix Pinnacle and Annika Jonsson (freshman) of Scottsdale Horizon gave a glimpse of the future with strong performances. Evans won the 500 and 200 freestyle events and anchored the Pioneers’ victorious 500 freestyle relay. Jonsson won the 200 individual medley.
Chandler Invitational: The Mesa Mountain View girls made a statement with a victory in the invitational. Emily Christiansen won the sprints to pace the team win. She ended up with a pair of top-four finishes at the 5A-I state meet.
Desert Mountain beats Xavier: The Wolves pulled off the upset of the year on Oct. 3, ending the Gators 23-year dual meet record. In the shadow of Xavier for years, Desert Mountain exacted some revenge with some late relay strategy to earn a 97-89 win.
4A state: Phoenix Arcadia nearly swept the 4A-II meet after D’Arcy Schmidt won her fourth straight diving title and then nearly took the 50 free in an unusual double. Led by tri-lingual Tamara Lelli, the Scottsdale Chaparral girls gave Tucson Catalina Foothills a scare in 4A-I before the southern Arizona school won its eighth straight title.
Class 5A Girls All-Tribune first team Swimmer School Yr. Events Comment
Haley Krakoski Xavier So. 50 Fr Won state title in 5A-I
Traycie Swartz Dobson So. 100 Fr/100 Bk State record in 100 free
Whitney Lopus Desert Mtn. Sr. 200 Fr/100 Fly Won both events in 5A-I
Ashley Evans Pinnacle So. 500 Fr Set state record in 500
Christine Olson Mesquite Jr. 200 IM/100 Br 2 wins, 2 All-American times
Mikenna Cloward Mountain View Sr. Diving Won 5A-I by nearly 50 pts
Swimmer of the Year: Whitney Lopus, Desert Mountain
Coach of the Year: Chrissy Bodmer, Desert Mountain (Crafty coaching helped beat Xavier, ending Gators’ 23-year dual meet streak)
Class 5A Girls All-Tribune second team Swimmer School Yr. Events Comment
Emily Christensen Mountain View So. 50 Fr Finished 3rd at 5A-I meet
Tinsley Andrews Desert Vista So. 100 Fr Finished 3rd at 5A-I meet
Dani Caldwell Mtn. Pointe Jr. 200 Fr All-American time
Angela Duckworth Desert Mtn. Sr. 500 Fr Won state title in 5A-I
Cimone Miner Xavier Jr. 100 Fly Placed 3rd in 5A-I
Lindsey LaPorte Pinnacle So. 100 Bk Won 5A-II state title
Emily Barton Desert Mtn. Sr. 100 Br All-American time
Annika Jonsson Horizon Fr. 200 IM Won state title in 5A-II
Marissa Johnson Xavier Sr. Diving Runner-up in 5A-I
Class 4A-1A Girls All-Tribune first team Swimmer School Yr. Events Comment
D’Arcy Schmidt Arcadia Sr. Diving/50 Fr Won 4A-II diving, 2nd in 50
Lindsey Stevens Arcadia Sr. 100 Fr/200 Fr Won both events in 4A-II
Terry Rinder Arcadia Sr. 500 Fr State champ in 4A-II
Tamara Lelli Chaparral Sr. 100 Fly Pitt-bound state champ
Carter Graves Arcadia So. 100 Bk 4A-II state champ
Rachel Ripley McClintock Jr. 100 Br Won 4A-I state title
Sarah Cox Chaparral Sr. 200 IM Won 4A-I state title
Swimmer of the Year: D’Arcy Schmidt, Arcadia
Coach of the Year: Dave Hildebrandt, Chaparral (Nearly ended Tucson Catalina Foothills eight-year streak)
Class 4A-1A Girls All-Tribune second team Swimmer School Yr. Events Comment
Isabel Klosterman Notre Dame Jr. 50 Fr Finished 4th in 4A-II
Jennifer Benson Sco. Christian Sr. 100 Fr Won 100 free in 3A-2A-1A
Melanie Gustafson Arcadia So. 200 Fr Second in 4A-II
Callie Decker Saguaro So. 500 Fr Fifth in 4A-I
Ashley Brewer Chaparral So. 100 Bk All-American time in back
Molly Snittjer Notre Dame Jr. 100 Fly 2nd in 4A-II
Atley Savoldi Perry Fr. 100 Br 2nd in 4A-II
Jaclyn Branning Paradise Valley Jr. 200 IM 2nd in both events in 4A-I
Shelby Culinan Chaparral Sr. Diving Won 4A-I state title
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