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.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Xavier swimmers, divers making their move

If it is possible to hit your stride in a swimming pool, Xavier Prep appears to be doing it.
The Gators had perhaps their best effort of the season on Saturday (Sept. 24), outperforming a strong team from Scottsdale Chaparral for a 243 ½-212 victory in the Brophy-Xavier Invitational at the Brophy Pool.
“I am not even sure where to begin with the excellent meet we had. It was such a great day!’’ said Xavier coach Maureen Rankin. “Everyone was on deck to help out, in full spirits, and we had some very fast swimming with some incredible races.’’
The XCP 200-yard medley relay quartet of Vica Dow, Mary Roediger, Katie McCoy and Quinn Blake got things going with a big victory.
“This race set the mood for the entire day,’’ Rankin said. “We started off the race after the first 50 (yards) a little behind in the heat. The girls did not at all let this stop them and the lead narrowed as we headed into the last 50, where Quinn Blake (senior) secured us with the win with a great finish, out-touching Chaparral by one hundredth of a second! Getting us to the wall a second faster than at the Wolves Classic (Chandler), set us up for a possible win in this event at state.’’
Other Xavier highlights:
200-yard freestyle – Sophomore Izzy Gomez finished in 13th place with a personal best of 2:01.09 and a provisional state qualifying time. Freshman Haley Hubbard also grabbed a provisional state qualifying time.
200-yard individual medley – Junior Katie McCoy finished second with an automatic state qualifying time. She is expected to contend for a state title. Freshman Vica Dow got another provisional qualifying time for state, making this a possible third event for her in the big meet. Junior Kate Hubbard also achieved her first provisional state qualifying time.
50-yard freestyle – Junior Mary Roedgier, who had a strong effort in the recent Wolves Classic, touched the wall first. This makes her one of the favorites at state. Other Gators with provisional state qualifying times were freshman Olivia Paliscak, Quinn Blake and senior Jocelyn Jones.
100-yard butterfly – Paliscak, Haley Hubbard and junior Taylor Guthrie had provisional state qualifying time.
500-yard freestyle – Gomez had another provisional state qualifying time. Freshman Maddie Wright cut more than eight seconds from her previous best for a provisional state qualifier.
200-yard freestyle relay – Another win for Xavier.
“A very exciting relay win by over two seconds,’’ Rankin said. “Quinn Blake, Olivia Paliscak, Jocelyn Jones and Mary Roediger have definitely established themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Incredible racing!’’
100-yard backstroke – Junior Katie McCoy got the job done with a first-place finish, an automatic state qualifying time.
100-yard breaststroke – Junior Mary Roediger just missed her personal best but still earned an automatic state qualifying time. Jones finished with her personal season best.
400-yard freestyle relay – The Gators narrowly missed a win (Dow, Gomez, Paliscak and McCoy) and finished second.
“This relay was on fire with individual best split times, putting together an even faster time by two seconds from the weekend before (Wolves Classic),’’ Rankin said.
Diving – XCP won the event with 46 points, finishing ahead of Mesa Mountain View 46-40.
Madeleine Sewell finished in third place, Alyssa Largay fourth, Talle Donley ninth and Molly Cahill 11th. All achieved the state qualifying mark.
Two other Xavier divers reached the semifinals – freshman Hannah Jemsek and sophomore Isabella Plumb.
“Seeing the results of how these young ladies put this all together this past weekend, really worked and supported each other as a team, made me very proud of all of them,’’ Rankin said.
Xavier returns to the pool on Thursday (Sept. 29) for a home meet at Brophy against Phoenix Pinnacle.

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