Can Chaparral end Brophy Prep’s 30-year state swimming reign?

Chaparral High School swimmer Matthew Leblanc, middle, practices with the team at Cactus Aquatics and Fitness Center, Wednesday, October 31, 2018.

Phoenix Brophy Prep has owned boys swimming the last 30 years, never losing a state championship. But Scottsdale Chaparral might have something to say this weekend.

When Chaparral was moved back into Division I this school year, Chaparral coach Richie Krzyzanowski began working on seeing how he could get his swimmers to take down the Arizona high school swimming giant.

The last time Brophy didn’t win state was in 1987. Mesa Dobson was the last public-school champion to top the Broncos.

Can Chaparral pull what some might consider to be the Arizona high school sports upset of the decade on Friday and Saturday at the state swimming and diving championships at Mesa Skyline Aquatic Center?

“From top to bottom on the boys side, this is the most depth that I’ve had,” Krzyzanowski said.

Some swimming experts believe Brophy still will rule this weekend because of its relays and depth in events, especially the breaststroke and backstroke.

Former Brophy coach Pat O’Neill, now the girls swim coach at Mesa Red Mountain, believes, “It would take a DQ in a relay,” for Chaparral to have a chance.

“We’ll find out,” Krzyzanowski said. “Relays are huge. My kids know that if they just prove it in the pool, they know what they can do. It’s going to be tight on paper.

“When I work it out, we’re not ranked as high in some races. It’s because we’ve been swimming pretty tired. But once they get a lot of rest, which they have, they’re going race tough. They know what’s on the line. It comes down to them to be as good as they possibly can. That’s all I can ask for.”

Chaparral is led by Matthew Leblanc, who was azcentral sports Boys Swimmer of the Year last season when he won the 200-yard individual medley and the 100 breaststroke at state as a sophomore when Chaparral won the Division II title.

Lebanc is nearly two seconds faster in the breast this year.

“It’s going to be tough but we realize we have the opportunity to do something that hasn’t been done for a long time,” Leblanc said. “The key for us is resting, but we want to keep up our endurance in a way to last the entire meet. Things happen so fast. You have to be on your game all the time.”

It is a foregone conclusion that Chaparral’s girls will win the Division I title. The only question is will the girls win every single race?

The 400-yard relay team, led by Strouse, is looking to have the best time in the nation, one that will stand in the summer when California and Texas finish their swimming seasons that begin in the spring.

Sophomore Greer Pattison and Ashley Strouse lead the Firebirds. Strouse has gotten most of the publicity, chasing after former Chaparral star and Olympic medalist Taylor Ruck’s 200 and 500 freestyle records.

But in September, Pattison stunned even herself when she took down Misty Hyman’s 22-year-old state record in the 100 backstroke with a time of 53.59 seconds accomplished at the Brophy/Xavier Invitational. That is an automatic All-American time.

“It was shocking,” Pattison said. “I”m still in shock.”

This Chaparral girls team could win the national championship that won’t be determined until the summer.

“We all have worked really hard,” Strouse said. “However high we can go, it would be great.”

What the girls are doing impresses Leblanc.

“The girls are untouchable,” he said. “They’re not even looking at state. They’re looking at the national level.”

AIA swimming and diving state finals

Division I and II meets are held at Skyline Aquatic Center in Mesa. D.II preliminaries begin at 9:30 a.m., on Friday with the finals on Saturday starting at 9 a.m.  D.I prelims and finals start at 2:30 p.m., each day. Division III is being held at Phoenix Country Day School’s pool on Friday and Saturday. Swimming prelims are at 3:30 Friday and the finals at 2:30 on Saturday. Diving finals for all three divisions are being held at Phoenix Country Day School on Saturday, beginning at 9:45 a.m.

Who to see

Boys: Matthew Leblanc, Chaparral, 200 IM, 100 breast; Parker Hughes, Brophy, 50 free; Jon Carlo LoVullo, Anthem Boulder Creek, Matt Milovanovic, Brophy, 200 IM, 100 back.

Girls: Ashley Strouse, Chaparral, 200 free, 500 free; Greer Pattison, Chaparral, Kalli Fama, Gilbert Perry, 100 free, 200 free; Sadie Edwards, Paradise Valley, 100 breast; Mia Rankin, Xavier Prep, 200 IM, 500 free.

To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert at richard.obert@arizonarepublic.com or 602-316-8827. Follow him at twitter.com/azc_obert.

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