Scottsdale Preparatory Academy (SPA) swam into third place amongst all Division III opponents at Phoenix Country Day School’s (PCDS) Eagle Invitational on Saturday morning.
The Spartans combined for 143 points, with the SPA girls’ team finishing second in the Division III standings and breaking a team record for the 200-yard medley relay.
Tatum Good, Samantha Wareing, Taylor Bernosky, and Taylor Scott combined for a 1 minute, 52.57 seconds finish, 16 hundredths of a second faster than the school’s previous best set in 2018.
“It just shows we’re going to have a good season so I’m excited about it,” Bernosky said about the accomplishment.
Bernosky wasn’t even supposed to compete, as both coach Nikita Denisyako and assistant coach Jennifer Barlow advised her to stay home after receiving news that she was fighting a cold the past several days. Bernosky though, still suited up because she didn’t want to let her team down.
“It's been a learned skill for Taylor, but she’s really picked up and lifted up by her team,” said Taylor’s mother, Cori Bernosky, on her daughter’s competitive spirit. “When she’s in situations like this, with the team all coming together, she usually rises to the occasion.”
In total, Bernosky was able to compete in three events: the 200 medley relay, the 200 freestyle, and the 400 freestyle relay, which helped earn the Spartans 37 points.
“For being sick, that was a pretty remarkable time,” said Barlow on Bernosky’s 26.65 butterfly within the 200 medley relay. “Talk about digging deep and building character.”
Bernosky wasn’t the only Spartan shattering records. On the boy’s side, senior Michael Luca finished the 100 freestyle in under a minute, 59.57, a personal milestone he’d been chasing for over a year.
“Dreams really do come true,” said Luca after hearing the news on his time.
Unfortunately for the Spartans, their dream of beating host school PCDS fell just short, as the rival Division III Eagles took home the trophy for best girl’s score.
A few mishaps led to fewer opportunities for SPA points. The Spartans had a swimmer get disqualified for swimming in the wrong lane and another who missed her event entirely.
Denisyako mentioned that a meet as large as this one, which had 22 events, 36 teams, and over 900 swimmers, can cause scheduling problems for his athletes. He noted that many swimmers will write their heats and starting block numbers on their body with marker as a constant reminder.
SPA sophomore, Sam Spivey, said before the invitational that the girls team would do “really well” and that the boys team would individually “kick butt”.
To Spivey’s predictions, the Spartans finished first in three events, and had numerous top three finishes in Division III competition. That should set them up nicely for when state qualifying times are updated. The Spartans will also have a few more events in which they can qualify for state competition this November.
Good was a key part of the Spartans' success, posting a first place finish in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:13.22, and a second place 100 yard backstroke finish in 1:00.16.
The Spartans now enter a lengthy cool down period, with their next meet being in mid-October. Barlow noted that during this time, the team will focus on tightening up their turns and fast falls into the water.
SPA will have an opportunity for revenge Oct. 15, where they return to PCDS’s Dady Aquatic and Tennis Center for a dual meet.
Colin Romaglia is a sports journalism student at Arizona State's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism covering Scottsdale Prep athletics.