Arizona 5A High School Champs: The Traditions Continue; Coneally and the Goodrich Brothers Shine

By Duncan Scott

TEMPE, Arizona, November 9. BROPHY Prep (boys) and Xavier (girls) added to their long traditions of dominant team victories in Arizona high school swimming at the 2002 5A Arizona High School Swimming and Diving Championships, held today at Mona Plummer Aquatic Center at Arizona State University in Tempe.

Brophy won the 200 medley relay for the sixth consecutive year and got wins from Jonathan Ehret (junior) in the 200 IM (1:55.69) and 100 butterfly (:50.73) on their way to 407 points. They were well out front of the great battle for second between Mountain Ridge (199.5) and Tucson’s Salpointe (197).

Brophy won for the 15th straight year and the 23rd time in the lasst 24 years, with Bill Kopas getting head coach credit for the last 12.

Xavier had no individual wins but swept all the relays to total 329 points for an easy victory. Mesa Mountain View (176) won the runner-up trophy by 25 over Red Mountain (151), after Red Mountain had lost its #2 seeded (34 points?) 200 medley relay to disqualification. Xavier won for the fourth consecutive year and the sixteenth time in the last 18 years, with Coach Jeff Seaquist garnering his sixth crown.

Without question the race of the meet had the best — and possibly two best — swims of the meet. The girls 200 freestyle was a treat. Caitlyn Coneally (senioir, North Canyon) battled nose to nose with Lacy Nymeyer (junior, Marana Mountain View) on her way to a new Arizona State high school record at 1:47.06. The former mark was 1:47.73, set in 1997 by Sara Tolar (Dobson) who went on to win the NCAAs in this same event twice as an Arizona Wildcat.

Coneally was only 1.08 seconds from the overall national high school record which has been on the books since 1982, that being set by former 200 meter freestyle world record holder, Cynthia (Sippy) Woodhead, at 1:45.98.

In a battle royale, Coneally led at each 50 turn, but in the first 150 yards the margin was never more than
17-hundredths of a second: :24.87/:25.04 at the 50, :52.00/:52.09 at the 100 and 1:19.90 to 1:19.96 at the 150. Coneally, who has opted to attend Southern California next fall, turned on the jets with a :27.16 over the last 50, while Nymeyer tired a bit at :28.33 for 1:48.29.

Nymeyer’s fatigue over the last 50 had to be the inevitable result of the fact she was neither shaved nor fully rested for the meet, having chosen to put her main fall season eggs into the U.S. Open basket next month. She had to believe 1:48 would be good for the win in the 200, as both she and Coneally are better known as sprinters, having done the top two time in Arizona high school history in the 50 last year with Nymeyer setting the record on Friday at 23.04 and Coneally surpassing it in the finals at :23.03. But fate decreed they made the same move to the 200 free this year, and the spectators were happy for it.

Coneally also won the 100 butterfly in 54.82 and led off the North Canyon free relays at 23.48 and 50.49 (Nymeyer won the regular 100 at 50.63).

The 500 free had automatic All-America performances from U of A-bound Melissa Johnson (senior, Shadow Mountain) at 4:55.11 and future Texas Longhorn Stephanie Anderson (senior, Paradise Valley) at 4:58.54.

The 100 back was also outstanding, with automatic marks from Nadia Staubitz (senior, Red Mountain) at 56.61 and Ann Barton (senior, Desert Mountain) at 56.86.

Johnson, Staubitz and the Notre Dame-bound Barton all picked up a second automatic cut, with Barton winning the 200 IM at 2:05.28, Johnson second in that race at 2:06.18 and Staubitz behind Coneally in the 100 fly at 57.43.

Carissa Thomasson (senior, Desert Vista) defended her 100 breaststroke title by the narrowest of margins, 1;07.21 to 1:07.22 over Xavier’s highest individual placer, Emily Rees (senior).

The remaining swimming winner was Corie Collins (senior, Dobson) in the 50 freestyle at 24.20. Rachel Gitelson of Ironwood won the 1-meter diving event with 421.95 points.

Coneally won female Swimmer of the Year honors, with Glen Coy, Mesa Mountain View, leading the Coach of the Year balloting.

On the boys' side, Brophy won the championship, but runner-up Mountain Ridge, with the brothers Goodrich and Coach Mike Ulrich, won the remaining high honors. Kyle Goodrich (senior) won Swimmer of the Year with Ulrich getting the Coach of the Year plaudits.

Objectively, the top swims were turned in by Kyle’s younger brother Scott, with a 20.61 in the 50 freestyle, a 50.07 100 backstroke, and a 23.40 medley relay leadoff. He even outsplit Kyle on Mountain Ridge’s 3:11.59 winning 400 free relay, 46.17 to 46.36.

But the voters were apparently more impressed by the pair of great races in which Kyle picked up gutsy wins. First was the 200 freestyle (1:41.30 to 1:41.44 over David Mason, [senior, Mesa Mountain View]) and then the 500 freestyle (4:39.16 [4:38.71 prelim] to 4:39.39 over Chris Zeches [senior, Salpointe]). One way or the other, it was a great day for the Goodrich kids, who have been known (per an account in today’s ARIZONA REPUBLIC newspaper) to arrive at workout, on days when sibling rivalry has become too overheated, in t-shirts proclaiming, "I love my brother!"

Besides, Scott is already the leader in the clubhouse for next year’s voting!

Mason won the 100 Free in 46.82, after an automatic All-America time of :46.33 in Friday’s prelims. The final individual victory of the meet fell to Mike Larsson (senior, Dobson) at :58.93 in the 100 breaststroke.

The 200 freestyle relay victory by North High School (Levi Yockey, Ben Roman, Tim Curran, Mitch Miller) at 1:27.54, only .04 outside the automatic time, was most noteworthy as the first swimming crown ever for the longtime Phoenix school.

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