Swimming is about the competitor and the clock.
Yes, there is a team score at the end of the meet, but the true competition is the individual vs. every single 0.01 of a second.
Every time a swimmer gets into the water he/she knows exactly what their personal best is and all they want to do shave some time off it. If they keep lowering it then by product the team results will take care of itself.
The early season times are a starting point and by the time the state meet comes around in November everyone is hoping for a PR.
Here is a look at some of top competitors back for each area team:
Desert Ridge – Sophomore Luke Walker was the top placer for the Jaguars last year after he finished seventh in the 200 IM. Essias Smith, Cameron Tankersley, Nolan Craig, Jackson, Christian Perkins and Tanner Elkins will be counted on as well in various events.
“This team is probably one of the fastest boys swim teams at DRHS,” Jags coach Brock Harr said. “We have strong butterfly from Luke Walker and Essias Smith. Tanner Elkins is a new junior (after moving from Tennessee) to DRHS, and his work ethic is hard to match.”
Dobson – Junior Austin Connally competed in the 100 butterfly at state and was on the 200 freestyle team with senior Austin Grolle that finished eighth.
Mesa – The Jackrabbits are coming off a 10th place finish a year ago and could make a push for it again. Senior David Mickelson is the defending champion in diving after totaling 395.45 last while, junior Same Brown was the state runner-up in diving. Junior Daniel Brooks finished eighth in the 500 free and was the city champ.
“We should finish the season around 5-2 or 6-1,” Mesa coach Mike Haney, who has an 83-26-1 record in 15 seasons at Mesa, said. “We have a strong group of seniors.”
Mountain View – The Toros finished second to Brophy, which has won 29 straight big state team titles, for the fourth time in six seasons. Senior Trey McDaniel, who finished eighth in the 200 free, and junior Wesley Hendricks were members of the 200 medley squad. Nick Romero looks to better his 11th place finish in the 200 IM, while Mason Biegel was 14th in the 100 butterfly.
Red Mountain – A seventh place finish might be hard to duplicate after being hit hard by graduation. Evan Schaeffer, who was ninth in the 100 back and 10th in the 200 IM, is expected to be a top contender.
Skyline – The Coyotes will look to have more of an impact at state after failing to make the top 20 last season behind sophomore Ryan Muir and senior Armando Yanez were members of the 200 medley.
Westwood – The only returning state qualifier for the Warriors is junior Jordan Tuter, who competed in the 100 breaststroke but didn’t place.
Desert Ridge – Sophomore Karina Harr finished one spot, 17th, outside of placement in the 100 breast. Other competitors are junior Shaylin Grant, senior Stefanie Walker, Alexandra O’Brien, Olivia Dayton, Sarah Merrill, Annika Hoglund and Carolyn Walker.
Dobson – The Mustangs didn’t have a big presence at state but should be able to count on senior Bayleigh Ishmael (100 back) and sophomore Monica Lomeli. Clementine Tixier, Morgan Leon and Katie Sheridan should be back as well.
Mesa – The Jackrabbits’ 200 free relay team, which finished 13th at state, returns in tact in Kennedy Fisher, junior Julia Ramsey, sophomore Abbey Ashcroft and senior Natalie Curtis.
Mountain View – The Toros finished sixth last season behind sophomore Maddie Timm, who finished ninth in the 100 back, juniors Sarah Marske (100 breast), Rian Lewandowski and Sarah Johnson. Jessica LeSueur finished 10th and Mackenzie Baird was 13th in the 200 free.
“We are strong in the distance free, backstroke and free relays,” Toros coach Glen Coy said. “We hope to be Mesa City Champs and top four at state.”
Red Mountain – The Mountain Lions were seventh at state last season with senior Olivia Grossklaus picking up most of the points after finishing first in the 100 butterfly and third in the 50 free, while senior Danika Duffalo was eighth in the 50 free. Senior Lexi Letts finished second in diving. Sophomore Cameron Daniell finished with a sub 2-minute time in the 200 free and sophomore Emilee VanderLinden was ninth in the 100 breast.
“I believe the team looks strong,” first-year coach Ben Scott said. “We will take it one week at a time and aim high.”
Skyline – Junior Victoria Knapp is the defending champion in diving, while senior Allison Blyston-Pemberton and sophomore Isabelle Wiltbank are expected to contribute as well.
Westwood – The Warriors have junior Crisci back after finishing fifth in the 100 butterfly and eighth in the 200 IM.
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.