Once a girls swimming dynasty in the 1990s, Phoenix Arcadia hasn’t won a state title in six years, a long wait for a squad that won nine of 11 starting in 1989.
Following Saturday’s 4A Division II state swim and dive meet at ASU’s Mona Plummer Aquatic Center, the wait is over.
The Titans blew away the field, finishing with a total of 374 points, thanks to six individual first-place finishes and a win in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Phoenix Sunnyslope (279) and Cave Creek Cactus Shadows (206) finished second and third.
“It feels great to get back on top,” Arcadia coach Erica McClurg said. “We have a young team as well, so it’s going to be fun to watch them try to build on this.
“It might be the beginning of a streak.”
The Titans were led by the duo of Lindsay Stevens and Katherine Pickard, who each won two events. Pickard, named female swimmer of the meet, won the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly, just ahead of her teammate, Carter Graves.
“It’s a lot more fun when you have a teammate out there,” Pickard said. “We push each other to see how fast we can go.”
Stevens finished first in the 200 freestyle and the grueling 500 freestyle.
“The 500 is all about mindset,” Stevens said. “Yeah, it’s long, but if you don’t think about, you should be all right.”
Arcadia also won the 200 freestyle relay, but was disqualified for not disclosing its race order to officials prior to the race, stripping 40 points off the team total.
Scottsdale Christian’s Jennifer Benson also won two events — the 50 and 100 freestyle. She won the 50 freestyle despite having only the fourthbest qualifying time.
“I wasn’t expecting that at all,” she said.
On the boys side, Phoenix Sunnyslope won its second consecutive 4A-II title with a total of 374. Flagstaff (261) finished second, ahead of Cave Creek Cactus Shadows (253), which got third.
“It really is unbelievable,” said Sunnyslope coach Brian Metheny, whose team will move up to 4A-I next year. “We lost nine seniors off of last year’s team, but the leadership is still there.”
The Vikings were paced by wins in the 200 freestyle relay, the 200 medley relay as well as individual wins by Charles Donofrio (100 freestyle) and freshmen Danny Clarke (100 butterfly).
Blake Lewkowitz, winner of the 200 and 500 freestyle, was named the boys’ swimmer of the meet. The Phoenix Country Day star’s time of 4:37.31 in the 500 freestyle was 12 seconds clear of the field.