The University of Arizona opened its doors over the weekend to high school swimmers and divers from all around the state.
More than a thousand athletes filled the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center, representing teams from 38 schools from around Arizona who were there to compete in the Speedo High School Classic. The list was pretty evenly divided among schools from the Phoenix area and those that make up the southern contingency around Tucson.
Some schools loaded the bus with lots of competitors, such as Red Mountain HS in Mesa, which sent the most at 45, and Catalina Foothills HS down south, which sent 41. St. Mary’s HS, a Catholic high school in downtown Phoenix, was one of the smaller schools entered. The Knights sent six boys.
But, when it was all said and done, there were no real surprises. Xavier Prep and Brophy Prep, the other Catholic schools in central Phoenix, continued their dominance of the sport.
Brophy took the boys’ team title with 333.5 points, well ahead of second-place Salpointe Catholic from Tucson, which had 142. Likewise, Xavier ran away from the pack, posting 259.5 points and putting a lot of distance between them and Desert Vista from Phoenix, with 168.5.
In the combined team scores, Catalina Foothills HS in Tucson put together a total of 224 points for first place, followed by Salpointe Catholic (215.50) and Canyon del Oro HS (142.50).
The Classic was supposed to include a dozen events, but an unexpected summer storm rolled across the desert about mid-afternoon and forced organizers to shut it down with three events still to play out, the 100 breaststroke, 400 freestyle relay, and the 1-meter diving.
The competition took place over two separate 25-yard courses, and the diving was held concurrently in the adjacent Kasser Family Pool & Diving Well. Scoring was done for the first 16 places, with athletes limited to two individual events and two relays.
Many of the athletes used the Classic to earn entrance to this year’s state meet, since rule changes this year have eliminated being able to qualify for state through the regionals. Instead, swimmers have to qualify using times at various invitational meets throughout the year . The top 24 times or marks at the Classic qualified for the state meet.
Brophy picked up four individual first-place finishes and won both the 4×50 Freestyle Relay (1:28.14) and the 4×50 Medley Relay (1:38.58).
Brian Stevens won the 200 Freestyle (1:43.99) and the 500 Freestyle (4:45.95) to pace the Broncos. Chris Webb added a win in the 200 Intermediate (1:55.73) and Gabriel Espinosa took the 50 Freestyle (21.84).
Desert Vista HS in Phoenix swept the relays on the girls’ side, winning the Freestyle in 1:39.38 and the Medley in a time of 1:49.33.
There were a number of other multiple individual winners. LeighAnn Oliver from Sabino HS in Tucson claimed the titles in the 100 Backstroke (1:07.83) and the 500 Freestyle (5:07.25), while Kat Simonovic from Mountain View HS (Mesa) won the girls 200 Freestyle (1:53.19) and the 100 Butterfly (57.69).
Katie Olsen, who won state titles last year in the 100 Breaststroke and the 50 Freestyle, took the Classic title in the 200 Intermediate with a time of 2:06.81. The senior from Desert Vista set a state record in the 100 Breaststroke last year with a time of 1:00.68 and has already qualified to compete in that event at the 2012 Olympics.
And Maggie McCord, from Canyon del Oro HS, got a first-place finish in the 50 Freestyle with a time of 24.20, but fell less than a second short on the 100 Freestyle and finished in second place behind Red Mountain‘s Samantha Guttmacher (53.20).