PHOENIX, Arizona, November 6. THIS past weekend, Swimming World was in attendance at the Arizona state Division I and II High School Championships, streaming the events and conducting interviews with male and female individual and relay winners in both divisions. The final sessions ran back-to-back Saturday, November 3, under the overhead desert sun. Division II kicked off in the morning, setting a fast tone that Division I kept rolling in the afternoon.
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The biggest news of the day came on the Division I boy's side: Brophy College Preparatory, an all-boys Jesuit school in central Phoenix, defended its championship title for the 25th consecutive year, winning by 166 points over second-place Highland high school, with a total score of 344 points. It is Brophy's 35th overall Arizona high school swimming state championship title. Brophy's sister school, Xavier College Preparatory, took the championship title on the women's side, with 330 points, finishing 85 points ahead of second-place Pinnacle high school.
Although Xavier came away with no individual event winners, they won the 200 medley relay and had enough depth throughout the events to come away with the title. Second-place Pinnacle had the most relay and individual wins over the course of the meet, with Sophomore Victoria Toris leading the charge.
Toris came away with individual wins in the 50 and 100 freestyle events and was a key member on the Pinnacle relay teams that took the 200 and 400 freestyle titles. Swimming World interviewed Toris after her 50 freestyle win, and she was all smiles, albeit a bit breathless.
“Its crazy, I mean, last year I definitely wanted to come in to this meet and do the best that I could,” said Toris. “But coming in this year and standing on top of the podium… it makes everything feel so great.”
Although Toris racked up the most total gold medals at the meet, there were a number of double event winners, including senior Clara Jenck, from Mountain Pointe, who doubled wins in the 200 IM and 100 backstroke, and senior Kat Simonovic, who won titles in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly.
On the men's side, Brophy's Gabriel Espinosa mirrored the feat Victoria Toris accomplished in the pool next door. He started the afternoon off with a win in the 50 freestyle, followed shortly after by the 100 freestyle.
“The last 25 was just killer,” Espinosa told Swimming World right after swimming an automatic All-American time in the 100 freestyle. He followed these individual wins with titles in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. Brophy ended up sweeping the men's relays, adding considerable points to their team scores.
Dobson's Michael White was a notable double winner on the men's side. He won the 200 IM early on in the afternoon, and then upset Brophy's TJ Decker for the 100 breaststroke title near the meet's close.
View All Division II Men and Women Races
Salpointe Catholic took the women's team title over Arcadia high school and Verrado, who were a close second and third. Much like the women's Division I team title that went to Xavier Prep, Salpointe relied on overall team depth to earn most of their championship points. Third-place Verrado actually won the majority of the event titles, led by Picabo Bender and Amy Bilquist.
Without question the star of the meet was Verrado's Amy Bilquist, a lengthy sophomore that took state titles in the 100 backstroke and 50 freestyle. Bilquist swam automatic All-American times in both events, with her final times far outdistancing the Division I winners. She clocked a remarkable 55.15 in the 100 backstroke and broke the 23-second mark with a 22.96 in the 50 freestyle, a time only three one-hundredths of a second off the Arizona state record.
“I just wanted to break 23,” a breathless Bilquist told Swimming World after the race. “I've been working all season, so I'm really happy with that.”
Bilquist's teammate Picabo Bender, a junior at Verrado, was also a double event winner, winning gold in the 200 and 500 freestyle. The two teamed up with Verrado senior Danielle Badger and junior Nicole Kosowski to take championship titles in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
Another standout was Notre Dame Prep's Samantha Getzen, who won back-to-back individual state titles in the 100 butterfly and 100 freestyle.
On the men's side, Arcadia came away with the team win, overcoming Salpointe Catholic by 31 points. Points came from individual wins from Antonio Ramirez in the 500 freestyle and a dominant 1-2 placing by Matt Anderson and Danny Bullington in the 100 breaststroke. All three of these individual winners contributed to the championship win in the final 400 freestyle relay, along with senior Paul Jacobs.
“It's so much fun swimming with these guys,” Matt Anderson told Swimming World after the final relay. “We had an excellent season, it was just a great way to end it.”
Notre Dame Prep won championship titles in the 200 freestyle and 200 medley relays, and Cortez's Max Montour doubled up on individual wins in the 100 backstroke and 200 IM. Another double winner was Jake Lambros from Bourgade Catholic in the 200 and 100 freestyle. Casa Grande's Steven Koppel also came away with an individual win and All-American consideration time in the 100 butterfly.
For a full list of high school state results CLICK HERE
Written and posted by Shoshanna Rutemiller