After 32 consecutive state swim titles, Brophy Prep found an opponent it couldn’t beat: the coronavirus.
Just days before this weekend’s state meet was to begin, the school announced that a COVID-19 outbreak at the all-boys Catholic school in central Phoenix forced a decision to drop from competing in the D-I state playoffs, ending its quest for a 33rd straight big-school title.
Brophy’s unexpected absence left the door open for another high school boys swim team to stand atop the winner’s stand for the first time in more than three decades.
And Chaparral High School walked right through that door.
The Scottsdale school scored a team total 302 points to become the 2020 boys D-I state champs. And they accomplished the feat without wining a single individual event or a relay.
Chaparral’s 302 points, although enough to win the title, is indicative of the need for first-place finishes to build a winning score. Brophy won last year’s championship by piling up 484 points.
But Chaparral, which had enough depth in most events to score points and took third place in the three relays, was able to finish 17 points ahead of runner-up Desert Vista HS, which showed marked improvement from its fifth-place finish last year.
The Firebirds’ win this year ended years of frustration after finishing runner-up to Brophy the last two seasons. Their last state championship came in 2017 when they were still competing in Division II and didn’t have to cope with the annual challenge of dealing with the Brophy dynasty.
Boulder Creek HS came in third with 171.5 points and Sunnyslope HS senior Tate Bahti was named D-I Swimmer of the Year. The Sunnyslope team finished in fifth place.
The Chaparral girls’ team made it a sweep this year, running away from the field to win its seventh consecutive swimming & diving state title, four in D-II before moving up to D-I in 2018. So this makes a D-I three-peat.
Many consider this to be one of the strongest girls’ teams that Chaparral has produced, and one of the best teams in state history. The Firebirds returned the core of their 2019 championship squad, using that talent to score 452.5 points for this year’s team win.
As has been the case for the past four years, seniors Ashley Strouse and Greer Pattison led the Firebirds to another title, with Strouse winning the 200 free and 500 free for a fourth time in each event, and Pattison adding a win in the 50 free and a second place in the 100 backstroke. Pattison won the last three 100 back titles.
The other individual winner for Chaparral was Morgan Brophy, in the 100 butterfly.
Chaparral used wins in all three relays to pile up the points, with Strouse and Pattison contributing on two of those.
Xavier Prep came in a distant second with 267 points, followed by Red Mountain HS with 208.