Girls swimming: Chaparral overcomes relay DQ to roll to Division I title

Fans cheer for swimmers at the Arizona State Division I Swimming Championships. Carly Henry/azcentral

Scottsdale Chaparral couldn’t have opened its Division I title and national title quest in a worst way.

It got disqualified in the 200-yard medley relay – the first race – for leaving the blocks too soon in Friday’s preliminaries.

But what started terribly ended Saturday evening with a celebratory victory lap in the Mesa Skyline Aquatic Center pool.

Chaparral won the swimming and diving girls state title with 477.5 points. Phoenix Xavier Prep was second at 301, followed by Mesa Mountain View at 268.

Chaparral’s win in Division I after dominating in Div. II last year was expected.

But the beginning wasn’t.

The DQ didn’t end up costing the loaded Firebirds the state title. But it might end up costing them the national high school championship that won’t be decided until the summer after other states, such as Texas and California, go through their spring seasons.

“It’s one of the hardest things to control, especially to start the meet,” Chaparral coach Richie Krzyzanowski said. “But at prelims, nobody was affected by it. They just did what they do best. That is race hard, race smart.”

Chaparral responded Saturday with state records in the 200 freestyle relay (1 minute, 34.44 seconds) and the 400 freestyle relay (3:23.83). The last relay eclipsed the state record by three seconds.

Super sophomores Ashley Strouse and Greer Pattison led Chaparral’s record day. Both were double state champs in individual events. Strouse broke her own state record in the 200 free (1:45.44) and won her second 500 state title (4:48.70).

“I would bet that 400 relay records is the nation’s top time right now,” Krzyzanowski said. “Big swims overall. I can’t wait for next year all over again. And we’ve got the 200 medley relay, as well, next year. We’ll make surer we take care of that.”

Strouse broke former Chaparral standout Taylor Ruck’s 200-yard freestyle state record on Friday in the preliminaries. She then dropped that time by 0.23 on Saturday.

Chaparral won every individual race, except for the 200 individual medley, the 100 butterfly, the 100 breaststroke and the 100 free. Mesa Mountain View freshman Emma Becker won the 200 IM in 2:02.83 and the 100 breast in 1:03.27.

Mesa Westwood senior Natalie Crisci won the 100 fly in 55.31.

Gilbert Perry junior Kalli Fama won the 100 free in 50.13.

Division II

Phoenix Arcadia held off Tucson Catalina Foothills for the state championship. Arcadia scored 266 points. Catalina Foothills finished with 245. Gilbert Campo Verde was third at 164.

It was only Arcadia’s second state title since 1984 and first since 2011.

Senior Sydney Carlson won the 200 IM (2:03.46) and the 500 freestyle (5:02.41) to lead Arcadia. She was named the meet’s top female swimmer.

“I did these races all four years,” Carlson said. “It was fun to finally have first because I’ve been racing my (older) sister in the 2 IM, and she would always beat me.”

Arcadia senior Isabella Fratesi won the 100 breaststroke (1:03.36) for the Titans’ only other individual state swimming title. Arcadia won the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay.

With Scottsdale Chaparral moved up to Division I, it cleared a path to the top podium for the Titans.

“This is by far the best chance we’ve had in a few years,” said Arcadia coach Erica McClurg, who was named Div. II girls Coach of the Year. “We have three seniors,  whom, I thought, this is a great to cap their high school careers with a state championship.

“It was a tough fight. Catalina Foothills was awesome. But everything lined up perfectly for us. I couldn’t be happier.”

Oro Valley Ironwood Ridge senior Hannah Houlton was a double champion in the 50 free (23.60 seconds) and the 100 free (51.71).

Hailey Johnson of Vail Cienega won the 1-meter diving championship with 456.25 points. Isabella Plantz of Catalina Foothills was second at 434.40.

Division III

Tucson Sabino won the state title with 234 points, followed by Scottsdale Prep (205) and Chandler Seton Catholic (182).

Kate McBratney of Queen Creek American Leadership won the 200 individual medley in 2:03.06. The Arizona State commit won by more than nine seconds. She also took first in the 100 breaststroke at 1:02.52.

Amanda Zajdzinski of Gilbert Arete Prep won both the 500 free (5:02.20) and the 200 free (1:53.90)

Samantha Stein won the state diving title at her home pool at Phoenix Country Day School with 449.20 points. Scottsdale Saguaro’s Tatum Hennessy was second at 360.85.

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