Ryan Hoffer has graduated, but Chaparral High School‘s swimming program could continue to enjoy the national spotlight, as least for another year.
But that depends on the future plans of Taylor Ruck.
Ruck, who would become the singular face of the Firebird program next year, was just added to SwimSwam Magazine’s list of the nation’s top-10 high school prospects in the girls’ Class of 2018. The senior at the Scottsdale school is No. 2 on the just-released list.
Together with Hoffer, the pair has kept Chaparral among the state’s top swim programs over recent years. Both were azcentral.com Swimmers of the Year, with Ruck’s selection this year making it two in a row for her. And Hoffer was just named the Arizona Athlete of the Year.
Hoffer broke the state record in the 50-meter freestyle as a freshman and then continued breaking records in the 50 and 100 free events throughout high school, finishing his prep career with four straight 50 freestyle titles. He capped it off this past season by winning the state individual titles in the 50 free and the 100 butterfly, as well as helping the 400 freestyle relay team to a title, before heading off to University of California as the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2017.
But next year the glare of the spotlight would belong to Ruck alone – unless she opts to spend her final year of high school competition in Canada. Reports continue to surface that say Ruck may be moving back to her home country, where she will begin training for this summer’s Junior World Championships.
Whether that move is just temporary, or becomes permanent, is the big question.
Although the just-turned 17-year-old lives in Scottsdale and has spent the first three years of her prep career swimming for Chaparral and the Scottsdale Aquatic Club, she also represents Canada in international competition. A member of the Canadian National Team, she was just 15 years old when she was named to represent Canada at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
She is a native of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, but her family moved to Scottsdale when she was an infant.
Ruck and Hoffer combined to give Chaparral a sweep of both boys’ and girls’ state championships this past season. In leading the girls’ team with her intimidating 6-foot presence, Ruck set state records in winning the 100 freestyle (49.29) and 200 free (1:46) and also swam the first leg of the winning 4×100 freestyle.
The year before she won the 200 and 500 freestyle titles and swam a leg of the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay.
Those kind of contributions – not to mention the national attention – would be impossible to replace next year.
Ruck says she wants to compete for an NCAA program when her college days arrive. But the big question right now is whether Chaparral, or Canada, will be her jumping-off point to that collegiate career.