Brophy, Xavier dominate swim championships – as usual

Some things never seem to change.  That couldn’t be more true than in high school swimming competition in the state of Arizona.

This year, the AIA split the state swimming & diving championships into two divisions, instead of breaking it down to the usual small-school and big-school classifications.  That meant that the top teams and top swimmers in various classifications competed head-to-head.

But that didn’t make a difference in the overall results.  Brophy Prep and Xavier Prep, Catholic schools from central Phoenix, continued their dominance of the sport.

Brophy Prep blew away the boys’ competition in Division I, winning its 23rd straight state championship with 474.5 points – more than doubling Red Mountain High School’s runner-up finish of 203.5 points.

Xavier Prep brought home its 12th consecutive girls’ state title (25th overall) in similar fashion.  The Gators posted a 401 total in Division I, nearly doubling the 220 points of runner-up Chaparral High School.

The Broncos had a pair of individual titles and two relay wins to propel them to the team win.  Michael Nelson won the 100 breaststroke (58.02) and Brian Stevens took the title in the 200 freestyle (1:38.8), while the relay wins came in the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay.

Tucker Wells, Shane Essert, J.J. Osborn, and Jeremy Becker took the 200 title in 1:36.51 and Stevens teamed with Carter Smith, Brad Dorsey, and Chris Webb to post a 3:08.5 win in the 400.

Stevens also finished second in the 500 freestyle, missing out on the title by just .04.  Essert came in second in the 100 breaststroke (58.16), giving Brophy a 1-2 finish, and Webb added points with his runner-up finish in the 200 individual medley (1:52.8).

Tanner Roe of Chaparral HS in Scottsdale won that 200 IM with a time of 1:52.65, just .22 ahead of Webb.  He also won the 500 freestyle in a time of 4:31.5.

Red Mountain picked up most of its points with John Dowd‘s win in the 100 freestyle (45.75) and a victory in the 200 freestyle relay, where the team of Dion Nielsen, Ross McDonnell, Tyler Guttmacher, and Dowd finished in 1:24.9.  Dowd also finished second in the 50 freestyle (20.93).

Xavier’s biggest splash came in the 200 freestyle relay, where the Gators broke the state record, set 17 years ago.  The team of Sarah Graif, Alisha Bender, Talie Anchustegui, and Kyra Zsiga covered the course in 1:35.21, breaking the 1:35.26 mark set by Xavier in 1993.

But it was a frustrating day for Anchustegui in several other events, as she placed second to Chaparral’s Lelli Leticia in the 100 butterfly and the 100 backstroke.  Lelli posted a 56.41 time in the backstroke and won the butterfly in an All-America time of 54.90.  Anchustegui was just .08 off the winning time in the backstroke.

Bender also added second-place finishes in three individual events to go with her relay win.  The junior was runner-up in the 200 freestyle and 100 breaststroke.  And Xavier swept both second and third in the 100 freestyle, with Bender coming in second and Zsiga right behind in third.

Chaparral’s Megan Cox gave a big boost to the Firebirds’ second-place team finish with a win in the 200 Intermediate (2:03.19) and a runner-up in the 500 freestyle (4:53.27)  A sophomore won the 500 event, as Kat Simonovic from Mountain View HS in Mesa clocked 4:52.44.

Gilbert High School finished down the board a bit, coming in eighth with a team score of 93 points.  But senior Kelli Benjamin did all she could to carry the load for the Tigers, winning the 50 freestyle in 23.07 and the 100 freestyle in 50.19.