In keeping with the focus on this week’s presidential election, consider this:
The last time the Brophy Prep swim & dive team failed to win a state title, Ronald Reagan was midway through his second term in office. He was our 40th president. We just elected No. 45.
And once again this year, the boys’ teams in Division I knew they would all be competing for second place.
Last Saturday the Broncos kept their winning streak alive, winning their 29th consecutive state team championship in their usual dominating fashion. Brophy piled up 345.5 points to run away from the field at the Skyline Aquatic Center in Mesa, finishing well ahead of runner-up Mountain View (Mesa) High School, which totaled 203.5 team points.
Jack Blake led the attack for the Broncos, capping his prep career with individual titles in the 50-yard freestyle, where he clocked a a 20.09 finish, and the 100 free that he won in 44.76. He also anchored the 4×100 relay team that posted a winning time of 3:04.73.
The Brophy program has accumulated 37 state swim titles over the years, the last 10 under head coach Pat O’Neil who took over in 2006 after being hired away from Mountain View.
In Division II... another local standout was wrapping up his senior season by helping Chaparral High School to the boys’ team title. Ryan Hoffer picked up individual titles in the 50 freestyle (19.34) and the 100 butterfly (46.97), and then swam a leg of the winning 400 freestyle relays.
His times in the 50 and 100 races broke state records he had set last year, and his mark in the 50 free nearly eclipsed the national record time of 19.29, set three years ago.
Hoffer began breaking records as soon as he got to high school. He broke the state 50 freestyle record as a freshman while swimming in the prelims at state, and his time of 19.55 was the fastest in American history by a swimmer in the 15-16 age bracket. He has continued breaking records in the 50 free and 100 free every year since and finished his prep career with four straight 50 freestyle state titles.
The No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2017, Hoffer will continue his swimming career at University of California.
On the girls’ side… Chaparral made it a sweep by also winning the girls’ state title behind the record-setting efforts of Taylor Ruck. The junior set state records in winning the 100 freestyle (49.29) and 200 free (1:46) and swam the starting leg of the winning 4×100 relay.
Ruck was named the Arizona Girls Swimmer of the Year in 2015 after a dominating sophomore season, and will likely be a favorite to win the award again this year. Last year she won the 200 and 500 freestyle titles and swam a leg of the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay. Her time of 1:46.51 broke the state record in the 200 free, one that she had set as a freshman.
Emma Broome was another key to the Firebirds’ championship this year, winning the 100 fly and 100 back and swimming a leg of the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays.
Arcadia High was this year’s runner-up, finishing well back of the winner with 266.5 points.
In Division I, this year’s girls’ title went to Desert Vista High School, which scored 274 points to edge out runner-up Chandler High.
Desert Vista was the team that broke Xavier Prep’s 14-year title reign in 2013 and has returned to the top this year. The Thunder scored 278.5 team points that year to squeeze past Xavier, which finished runner-up with 267.
This year Chandler collected 245 points, sliding into the runner-up position by collecting points in the most exciting event of the night. Hamilton High won the 400 freestyle relay when Irena Putikova touched the edge of the pool a scant .09 seconds ahead of Chandler’s Marina McInelly. Desert Vista finished third in that race.
Multiple titles also went to Claire Grover, a junior from Boulder Creek High School who won the 100 breaststroke (1:01.59) and 50 freestyle (22.92) to earn Girl Swimmer of the Meet honors, and Xavier’s Kaitlyn McCoy who titled in the 200 individual medley (2:03.59) and the 100 back (56.03).