Ruck, Jurek named Arizona prep Swimmers of the Year

<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons above -->
                <div>
                    <a class="addthis_button" href="//addthis.com/bookmark.php?v=300" addthis:url='http://phxfan.com/2015/11/ruck-jurek-named-arizona-prep-swimmers-of-the-year/' addthis:title='Ruck, Jurek named Arizona prep Swimmers of the Year'>
                        <img src="//cache.addthis.com/cachefly/static/btn/v2/lg-share-en.gif" width="125" height="16" alt="Bookmark and Share" style="border:0"/>
                    </a>
                </div>  It was easy to predict this year’s selections for the azcentral sports Swimmers of the Year.  If it were basketball, we’d be talking slam-dunk. Taylor Ruck from Chaparral High […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
                <div>
                    <a class="addthis_button" href="//addthis.com/bookmark.php?v=300" addthis:url='http://phxfan.com/2015/11/ruck-jurek-named-arizona-prep-swimmers-of-the-year/' addthis:title='Ruck, Jurek named Arizona prep Swimmers of the Year'>
                        <img src="//cache.addthis.com/cachefly/static/btn/v2/lg-share-en.gif" width="125" height="16" alt="Bookmark and Share" style="border:0"/>
                    </a>
                </div>

 

It was easy to predict this year’s selections for the azcentral sports Swimmers of the Year.  If it were basketball, we’d be talking slam-dunk.

Taylor Ruck from Chaparral High School was named the Arizona Girls Swimmer of the Year after a dominating sophomore season that culminated with state titles in the 200 and 500 freestyle events.  She clocked a 1:46.51 in the 200 and hit a winning time of 4:45.17 in the 500 to defend her title in that event.

Her time in the 200 was just a shade faster than her time last year and set a new state record to replace the 1:46.76 she posted last year at state.

Ruck also swam a leg of the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle medley, where the Firebirds set a new state record with a sizzling time of 3:26.47.

Chaparral also won the 200 freestyle relay and Emma Broome posted top times in the 100 butterfly (55.07) and 100 backstroke (54.80) as the Firebirds ran away from the field to notch their second straight girls state championship.

Ruck’s arrival on the high school swim scene didn’t go unnoticed after sweeping last year’s state titles in the 200 and 500 freestyles as a freshman – and setting new state records in both events.

And then she jumped back into the water at the Winter Junior Nationals where she won the 500 free in a time of 4:41.38, which was the fastest time among all Arizona high school girls, and captured the 100 backstroke in 52.95 – a time that would have set another state high school record, but couldn’t be recorded in the USA Swimming national age-group records because she is a Canadian citizen.

This year she tuned up for the state competition by winning the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke at the 27th annual Brophy/Xavier Swimming & Diving Invitational, the last major competition before the state meet.

She left little doubt that she would be back in top form again this year to compete at state.

So the 15-year-old blur in the water is 2-for-2 in state titles and now holds a similar undefeated record for Swimmer of the Year honors and is looking ahead to the summer when she hopes to add another accomplishment to her young resume by making it onto the Olympic swim team to represent Canada.

Mark Jurek also earned a Swimmer of the Year award when he was a sophomore – and also just notched his second award two years later.  The senior at Chandler High School is the 2015 recipient of the honor on the boys’ side after collecting state titles in the 200 freestyle (1:37.36) and 200 individual medley (1:47.86).

Jurek’s performance also came as no surprise to anyone that follows high school swimming.  Last year, he bested the old state mark in the 200 individual medley by more than a second, finishing in 1:47.03 to win that event, and then also tied a state record to win the 100 butterfly with a time of 47.80.

And the year before, as a sophomore, he set state records in both events at the state championships.

But this year, he did something at state that, to his knowledge, had not been done before.  He competed in three events, one right after the other.  He swam the second leg of the 200 medley relay to help the Wolves to a fifth-place finish, and then swam the 200 free and the 200 IM.

That feat alone should have qualified him for a special place on the medal stand.