Mesa state swimming

The Red Mountain girls swim team impressed at state last weekend, placing second overall behind powerhouse Chaparral. Coach Ben Scott believes this is only the beginning for his young program.

The 2021 swim season has come to a close with local Mesa schools impressing at the state championship meet Nov. 7. 

Chaparral’s girls team, a dynasty as of late, captured its fourth straight state championship. Right behind the Firebirds in second was Red Mountain, which has built its program from the ground up with several young swimmers that will remain in the program for at least another year. 

Red Mountain scored 240 total points in the meet, which was spread over the course of two days with diving and swim events separated. Chaparral, the favorite entering the meet, scored a staggering 357.5 points. Despite the margin, Red Mountain coach Ben Scott said he was pleased with his team’s performance and for the future of the Mountain Lion swim program. 

“I was incredibly proud,” Scott said. “They had this goal in their mind to be the best they could and chase after Chaparral. They knew they would have tough competitors, especially out of Mountain View and Desert Vista. They had incredible goals and worked hard every single day.”

Red Mountain’s first big win of the meet came in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The team of Sophia Jahn, Dakota Klein, Tatum Cooley and Remi Wallace placed first overall in the event in a time of 1:36.43, nearly a half-second faster than their preliminary time. 

Jahn, a sophomore, also placed third in the 100-yard freestyle and first in the 50 freestyle. Wallace, one of the few senior swimmers competing for the Mountain Lions, placed second in the 10-yard butterfly to earn key points for her team. 

While the swimmers were impressive, Scott credited the program’s divers for their efforts at the meet. He believes it was them who scored enough points for Red Mountain to edge third-place Desert Vista, which finished with 212 points. 

Junior diver Ruby Pickron placed third in the competition while sophomores Tatum Malatin and Kennedy White placed eighth and ninth, respectively. Fellow sophomore Lauren Kuter placed 11th in the diving finals. 

“Our dive coach, Lauren Thiel, in my opinion is one of the best in the southwest,” Scott said. “And along with Red Mountain, she also coaches Skyline. The swim kids and dive kids really benefited from each other.”

The end of the 2021 swim season saw the end of a monumental career for Mountain View swimmer Emma Becker. The Florida International commit missed the team’s first few meets while on recruiting visits, which left coach Jack Giles uncertain how she would respond the rest of the season. But Becker is a three-time state champion dating back to her freshman year, and she made it four last weekend. 

Becker won the 100-yard breaststroke title in a time of 1:03.67. She earned key points for her team that ultimately allowed them to finish fourth behind Desert Vista, Red Mountain and Chaparral. 

Along with Becker, Katlyn McCurtain, Anna Thompson and Kenzie Griffin placed third overall in the 200-yard medley relay. 

“There was a lot of pressure on Emma all year,” Giles said. “She is a very skilled breaststroker, we just knew she wasn’t going to be as well prepared. She waited, I think, until that very last swim to swim her best. She is going to be a great swimmer in college.”

Mountain View’s boys also placed fourth at the state swim meet behind Brophy, Chaparral and Desert Vista, which narrowly edged the Firebirds for a two-point win for the trophy. 

Giles said it was a strong performance overall from the entire Mountain View program, one that both the boys and girls can build off of for the future. 

“It was absolutely the best we could do,” Giles said. “The teams ahead of us were very strong and the teams behind us were very close. We made a decision a month ago to try and get all of our relays in the top heat. It was close, but we were able to do that. It really worked out for us.”

Other notable performances out of Mesa include Skyline’s boys’ diving program, which saw senior Daniel Knapp win the individual state title with a score of 554.75. His teammate and younger brother, sophomore Josiah Knapp, placed third with a score of 456.65.

Have an interesting story? Contact Zach Alvira at (480)898-5630 or zalvira@timespublications.com. Follow him on Twitter @ZachAlvira

 

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