DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

State swim-dive: "Anything can happen'

Swimming or diving your best in state competition is one thing, but doing so when your teammates vociferously support your every move could create that extra push and make your event a meet-changer.
That’s the approach Xavier athletes are taking when they hit the water for this weekend’s Division I state meet at the Skyline Aquatic Center in east Mesa.
Swimming preliminaries and diving competition begin on Friday (Nov. 7) at 2:30 p.m. and the finals will be held Saturday (Nov. 8) at the same time.
“We’re definitely more united as a team,’’ said Kelley Conrad, on the verge of wrapping up her first season as coach of the Gators. “The girls started off the season like any other season, out of shape. But they worked hard and now they’re ready to rock it at state.
“They swam well last Saturday (Nov. 1) in the AMG Last Chance event. It was a good warm-up for them.’’
Most of the swimmers and divers qualified for state (four XCP divers qualified – the maximum allowable).
“The divers have been awesome. They are very capable of picking up some valuable points for us,’’ Conrad said.
She also is looking forward to seeing how the Gators’ relay teams do, and is optimistic about their success.
The race for the team title likely will involve four main candidates – Xavier, Scottsdale Chaparral, Phoenix Desert Vista and Phoenix Pinnacle.
“You never know about the state meet – anything can happen,’’ Conrad said.

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