Each year the day after the state championships take place, the top 10 swimmers from each event from the top three divisions are invited to compete in the Meet of Champions.
While Brophy and Chaparral won most of the events, several swimmers from East Valley schools still proved they deserved to be among the state’s best.
After the boys took first and the girls took second in the Division 2 state championships on Nov. 8, the Campo Verde swimmers knew they had a chance to make their mark.
The boys took home first in the 200-yard medley relay with a 1:35.74 time at the Meet of Champions, beating Division 1 runner-up Chaparral by less than a second. The boys also took second in the 400-yard free relay.
Senior Luke Miller finished first in the 100-yard free with a 45.95 time, while junior Christian Osterndorf came in fourth not far behind with a 46.43. Osterndorf also finished third in the 50-yard free posting a 21.16.
“It feels pretty good,” Ostendorf said. “I’ve been working pretty hard this year and I’m glad to see it pay off.”
Even after an impressive two days of competition, Osterndorf is confident that he will be able to take first in the 50 free next year if he tunes up a couple of things.
“Honestly, right now I’m a little bit slow going off the blocks, first 25,” Osterndorf said. “I can bring it home I just need to get out there better.”
As for the girls, it was sophomore Paige Treptow that showed out for Campo Verde. Treptow came in second in the 50-yard free and third in the 100-yard free.
Much like Osterndorf, Treptow is already looking forward to the team’s future.
“It was kind of just like a relief. I didn’t know how to feel I was just happy that I did good,” Treptow said. “It’s exciting to know what’s ahead of me and to see how the rest of these years can go. Hopefully, the girls can become state champs too.”
Campo Verde head coach David Peters credited his team’s performance over the course of the three-day schedule to the work ethic each swimmer had throughout the duration of the season.
“People have good days and bad days, but the boys were still on today, they were on yesterday. I’m very proud of them,” Peters said. “I always felt that they could compete with the big boys obviously in certain events.”
Higley freshman Jackson Keaton Jones showed why he was invited to the meet as he placed third in the 100-yard back and first in the 500-yard free by a wide margin. Jones posted a 4:31.46 time in the 500-yard free an astounding seven seconds faster than the second-place finisher Devin Esser.
“I knew everyone was going to be tired and I went out really fast and I knew that if I got the lead, I thought everyone would just kind of give up, and that’s pretty much what happened,” Jones said. “I just had to hold on.”
Jones’ high school career, while in its early stages, has already been filled with numerous accolades.
Competing at the October Long Course Challenge, Jones posted a time of 2:00.28 in the 200-meter backstroke. His time broke the national record of 2:00.97 for boys ages 13-14. The record was previously held for over 20 years by Aaron Piersol, a five-time Olympic gold medalist and the current world-record holder in the 200 backstroke.
Jones’ record time allowed him to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Trials.
“The Olympic Trial cut was the ultimate goal for the season,” Jones said in October. “However, after getting so close, I knew I had to try for the NAG record before I aged up, so I’d never wonder ‘what if?’
“It is the icing and cherry on top and to be in the history books with the likes of Aaron Piersol, it’s pretty incredible.”
After surprising everyone, including themselves, and finishing third at the Division 1 state meet on Friday, Desert Ridge found itself competing in nine different events at the Meet of Champions.
Junior Essias Smith was the only Desert Ridge swimmer to place in the top three in any event as he finished first in the 100-yard fly with a 49.35 time.
Even though Smith was the only swimmer representing Desert Ridge in the top three, head coach Brock Harr was still extremely impressed by the team’s finish in the state meet.
“There’s no way to describe it. They’ve swum exceptionally well. All the boys were crazy on that third-place finish for state. It was totally unexpected but expected in the same sense cause we were shooting for fifth,” Harr said. “We went in there with eight boys swimmers and we came out with a third place.
“I cannot express how much pride I have in an exhibition like that. It was an amazing showing of force.”
Led by sophomore Emma Becker, the Mountain View Toros took third at the Division 1 state championships. Becker finished second in both the 100-yard breast and the 200-yard individual medley at the Meet of Champions.
Mountain View head coach Glen Coy said he is proud of everyone on the team for all the hard work they put in this season and not just the girls that scored at state.
He also acknowledged the luxury of having a swimmer as good as Becker leading the team.
“Emma is a very talented athlete that has a very unique ability to put it all together when it counts in a big race,” Coy said in an email. “She hates to lose and loves to race. To be able to accomplish what she did and overcome the injuries she had early in the season was a great accomplishment.
“We are really looking forward to the next two seasons.”