By Phillip Whitten
PHOENIX, July 7. WHEN the Academic All-America list for high schools was released yesterday by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA), one team stood out from among all of the other high-achieving secondary school teams in the USA: Phoenix North.
The North High Mustang girls ranked first with a combined GPA of 3.935, just beating out Spotswood (Virginia) High at 3.897.
Northside College Prep in Chicago (Ill.) was the top boys team with a combined 3.935 GPA, identical to North High’s girls. The North boys were second at 3.807, just nudging Mission Viejo, which followed at 3.806.
Upon learning of his team’s latest achievements, North High coach David “Smitty” Smithers, commented: “This is awesome. My head’s up in the clouds! What an honor to be able to coach this great group of kids who not only excel in the water, but in the classroom as well. This has been a fun day.”
“I’d like to thank everyone – swimmers, parents, financial supporters, families and administrators – for making this all come true.”
When Smithers spoke of his teaming excelling in the pool as well as the classroom, he wasn’t engaging in hyperbole. Ben Roman took All-American honors in both the 200 free and 100 fly while the boys’ 200 and 400 free relay teams (Roman, Mitch Miller, Pete Miller and Cory Phelps) also earned AA honors.
Five Mustangs scored individual Academic AA honors: Hillary Estes, Suzanne Forier, Hannah Leclair, Alyssa Umeda and Alexander Fidel.
Not surprisingly, the nation’s top high school girls’ swim teams both earned Academic All-America honors. Germantown Academy earned a silver award with a team GPA of 3.652, while national co-champion Ann Arbor Pioneer, took a bronze with 3.483.