It won’t be impossible for Arizona’s swimmers to break state records this year.
But it will be a lot tougher.
In mid-August, the National Federation of State High School Associations banned the high-tech swimsuits that had led to record performances at all levels.
The suits helped swimmers become more buoyant and led to an unfair advantage for those using them.
“These high-tech suits had fundamentally altered the sport and become more similar to equipment, rather than a uniform,” said NFHS assistant director Becky Oakes in a statement.
The use of the suits was not widespread last season in Arizona, but some swimmers did make the change, and with it came noticeable results.
This year, it’s back to an even playing field.
“I think it’s great that they’ve been banned,” Phoenix Xavier swim coach Colleen Murphy said. “It’s an unfair advantage. Letting your swimming be the true test is a great thing.”
Murphy knows it won’t be nearly as easy for this year’s swimmers to glide over state record times, but it’s something that the elite swimmers can still accomplish — new swimsuit or not.
“It’s not all about the suit,” Murphy said. “They still have the talent, and your swimming now does the talking.”
TEAMS TO WATCH
Brophy: Huge favorites again in 5A-I.
Desert Vista: Great showing at state last year, would love second-place repeat.
Arcadia: Should be a force for next few years.
Mountain Pointe: Young nucleus returns.
Notre Dame: Twins Alex and Ben Brouwer lead Saints.
Xavier: Well-armed for more state hardware.
Chaparral: Move up to 5A-II with Pinnacle will be interesting to watch.
Desert Mountain: Ally Loper leads talented Wolves.
Arcadia: Dominated 4A-I last year.
Pinnacle: Won state last year and high goals remain the same.
SWIMMERS TO WATCH
John Wojciechowski, Brophy, Sr.: Smashed 100-meter butterfly state record last season; taking aim at 100-meter freestyle mark this year.
Brian Stevens, Brophy, Jr.: Won 100- and 200-meter freestyles as a sophomore.
Sam Dorman, Marcos de Niza, Sr.: Dominated 5A-II diving last year as a junior.
Hayden Thomas, Tempe Prep, Sr.: Won the 200- and 500-meter freestyles in 1A/2A/3A last season.
Chris Pickard, Arcadia, Jr.: State champ in 200-meter individual medley, 100-meter butterfly.
Haley Krakoski, Xavier, Sr.: Defending state champion in 50- and 100-meter freestyles.
Leticia Lelli, Chaparral, So.: Won 200-meter freestyle and 100-meter butterfly in All-American times.
Traycie Swartz, Dobson, Sr.: Won 100-meter backstroke last year and finished 2nd in 100-meter freestyle.
Ashley Evans, Pinnacle, Sr.: Wrapping up spectacular career after two more state titles last year.
Katie Olsen, Desert Vista, Jr.: State champ in 100-meter breaststroke last year
Sept. 18-19 — Chandler Wolves Classic
Oct. 2-3 — Brophy/Xavier Invitational
Oct. 16-17 — 1A-3A state championships at Mesa Kino Aquatics
Oct. 30-31 — 4A state championships at Mesa Kino Aquatics
Nov. 6-7 — 5A state championships at Mesa Kino Aquatics
DID YOU KNOW?
- Phoenix Xavier has won 10 straight and 20 of the past 21 girls state swimming titles; Phoenix Brophy has won 21 straight and 29 of the last 30 boys state swimming titles.
- Xavier junior girls swimmer Alex Cole had brain and heart surgery as a freshman in high school. She swam last year and will swim again this season. Cole also has a perfect grade-point average of 4.344.
- Skyline boys swimmer Drew Reed is a skilled water polo player.
- Chaparral swimmers Michael and Sarah Bull compete in triathlons.
- Gilbert boys swimmer Kai Schultz is active in an organization called ‘Best Buddies,’ where he works with disabled children.
- Xavier girls swimmer Haley Krakoski traveled with the USA Junior National Team to Australia last winter. She is being recruited by the elite Division I swimming schools nationwide.