Desert Vista swimmers win state, break Xavier’s 14-yr hold

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                </div>Winning streaks in sports are a fragile achievement and the only thing you can really count on is that, at some point, they will come to an end.  It took […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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Winning streaks in sports are a fragile achievement and the only thing you can really count on is that, at some point, they will come to an end.  It took 15 years, but that inevitability arrived yesterday for the Xavier Prep swim team.

The Gators, the all-girl Catholic high school in central Phoenix, owned the last 14 state titles in Division I swimming, but were the most vulnerable they have been in years, thanks to the graduation last year of a lot of college D-I talent.  During this season they had been beaten at the Brophy Xavier Invitational by the Chaparral High girls team, lost dual meets to Pinnacle High School and Desert Vista High, and finished third at the Chandler Invitational.

Blood was in the water, and the sharks were circling.

Over the weekend, they struck.

Desert Vista established its intent immediately at yesterday’s finals, as Cecelia Kowalski clocked in at 1:50.48 in the 200 freestyle to tie with Rincon High‘s Brianna Leverenz for the title.  Then, Katie Shannahan won the 200 IM in a time of 2:04.25 to make it two straight for Desert Vista.  The junior later also won the 100 fly in 56.13.

The Thunder would go on to score 278.5 points, enough to squeeze past Xavier, which finished runner-up with 267. Pinnacle came in third with 243 points and Chaparral was fourth with 211.5.

Pinnacle won all but one of the freestyle events and both relays, but didn’t have the depth to post the kind of numbers that Desert Vista and Xavier compiled – despite taking first and second in the 50 free, where Victoria Toris posted a 23.12 to win and teammate Samantha Fazio followed in 23.40.

The win in the 50 free was Toris’ second consecutive state title in that event.  The junior also successfully defended her title in the 200 free and swam a leg of the winning 200 and 400 relays.  She had come into the post-season in possession of the fastest girls’ times this year in both individual events and was recognized for her efforts by being named Swimmer of the Year.

And Xavier also saw its hold on the state record it set eight years ago in the 200 medley relay broken as the Chaparral team of Emma Broome (25.86), Taylor Shewchuk (30.19), Gillian Rieth (25.52), and Emma Segneri (23.35) clocked a 1:44.92 to nose out second-place Xavier.

Xavier has won 27 state swim titles while dominating the sport for decades.  But this is the first ever for the Desert Vista girls.

Over on the boys’ side of the Division I competition, Brophy Prep evidently has not yet succumbed to the inevitable.  The Broncos won their 26th consecutive state title, even as records were being broken all around them by swimmers from other schools.

Mark Jurek, a junior from Chandler High School, set two new state records by winning the 200 IM in 1:48.31 after being the top qualifier in that event, and also the 100 butterfly with a time of 47.80.  The medley record has stood for 12 years.

And, as anticipated, Ryan Hoffer broke the 50 freestyle state record.  The freshman sensation from Chaparral High School didn’t even wait until the finals, but broke the record in Friday’s prelims by turning in a sizzling 19.55, which is good enough to eclipse the old mark of 19.84 set five years ago.  The time is also the fastest in American history by a 15-16-year-old and shatters anything done by a freshman before this.

He also finished second to Jurek in the 200 IM, touching the wall in 48.18.

The other double winner among the boys was Nick Magana from Scottsdale’s Desert Mountain High School.  He won the meet’s first individual event, the 200 free, with a time of 1:38.74 and then added a win in the 100 free (44.26).

Brophy accumulated 294 points for this year”s title win, while Chaparral had to settle for runner-up with a 259 points and Desert Vista took third with 211.