Brophy swimmers use Wolves Invite to make statement

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                </div>  The Brophy Prep swimmers put a huge exclamation point on the end of this year’s Chandler Wolves Invitational by wining the final race of the event going away. And […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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The Brophy Prep swimmers put a huge exclamation point on the end of this year’s Chandler Wolves Invitational by wining the final race of the event going away.

And they may have meant that to also be a statement about the way they will try to dominate again this year.

The Broncos ran away with the 400-meter freestyle relay, the last meet of the evening at Saturday’s Wolves Invite, clocking a sizzling time of 3:10.2 to finish three seconds ahead of the rest of the field.  In fact, Brophy won all three relays in the boys’ competition.

They set meet records in two of them, the 400 free and the 200 free, winning the 200 in a time of 1:25.55.  The third relay, the 200 medley, capped off the relay sweep as the Broncos posted a winning time of 1:38.20.

Tom Ottman picked up the individual win in the 50 freestyle for Brophy with a winning time of 1:43.19 and Jack Blake won the 500 freestyle in 20.71.

But there were several events that belonged to Mark Jurek, a junior speedster who swims for Chandler High School.  Jurek won the 100 butterfly with a time of 49.82 and also took first place in the 200 individual medley by clocking 1:52.85.

Jurek will be counted upon to keep Chandler in the state title hunt this year.  Last season he set two new state records at the state competition, winning titles in the 200 IM and 100 butterfly.

The Wolves Invitational offers an early-season look at the teams that will be vying for second place this year.  That’s a tough way to enter a season in any sport, but Brophy has won the state title 26 years running – and this year’s team is shaping up as one of the better in recent years.

Last year, Chaparral High School looked like a team capable of ending the reign after losing to Brophy by just 11 points in an October dual meet. The Firebirds got a big boost last season when freshman Ryan Hoffer started at the Scottsdale school.  Hoffer entered the season as the national record-holder in the 50 freestyle.

But by the end of the season, when the state meet rolled around, Brophy asserted itself once again beating out Chaparral for the boys’ championship, 294 points to 259.  It wasn’t that close, but a big improvement over the previous year when Brophy was so dominant that it almost doubled the score of runner-up Highland High, 344 points to 178.

Brophy, a small Catholic all-boys school in central Phoenix, has set the standard in high school swimming in the state of Arizona for more than two decades.  It won the national championship among high school swim programs in 2005.

A new Olympic-sized pool and aquatic center that was completed in time for the school year should mean some increased training advantages since the swim team will no longer have to travel off-site to the Phoenix Swim Club for its practices.

On top of that, Brophy’s head coach, Pat O’Neil, was named the National Swim Coach of the Year after the 2013 season.  O’Neill has directed the program to a state title in each of his eight years at the school.

And, if the results of the Wolves Invitational are any indication, it will be hard to keep him from adding another trophy in November.