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.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Rankin returns to coach Xavier swimmers, divers

One of the reasons why Xavier Prep’s swimming and diving team should have plenty of momentum in 2017 that has carried over from 2016 will be the presence of head coach “Mo’’ Rankin.
Gator swimmers will be seeing a lot more of Rankin than in her first season. The second-year coach will be on campus full-time as a member of the XCP financial aid office, helping potential students secure a place among the student body at the school that is known far and wide for its academics and athletics.
“I’m very excited about this new opportunity,’’ said Rankin, who has been a coach for USA Swimming and has been a coach and worked in the office of Arizona Swimming in the past.
She led XCP to a fourth-place finish at the Division I state meet last fall and has been encouraged by all of the hard work her swimmers put in at that time and have done so since.
Rankin has been able to monitor her athletes’ progress and will do so again in the days leading up to the start of the season in August/September. She will attend various club meets and is starting a summer clinic for incoming freshmen that will be held nearby at the Brophy Aquatic Complex.

Xavier coach Mo Rankin eagerly awaits her second swimming season. (Xavier photo).
 Rankin’s daughter will participate in XCP swimming as a freshman this fall.
“We have a strong incoming freshman class and that should make our team stronger overall,’’ Rankin said.
More balance is expected across the board between the sprints and the distance events, as well as with the divers, who had a strong showing at state.
“I think we will have a much larger group of girls qualifying for state,’’ Rankin said.
Two of the team leaders will be seniors Kaitlyn McCoy and Mary Roediger. McCoy was a double winner at state in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard backstroke. She also swam on a few of the relay teams. Roediger also competes in the relays and specializes in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard breaststroke.
According to Rankin, feedback from parents and athletes last season was an important piece of the puzzle.
“It went really well,’’ she said. “The girls also developed an incredible camaraderie and that’s one of the reasons why I wanted my daughter to come and swim at Xavier. The girls are a great support for each other.’’
Coaches need support, too.
Rankin has received plenty of that during the offseason when she dealt with cancer that has necessitated chemotherapy treatments. She said she was ready to complete the last of six treatments last week and looks forward to making a full recovery.
“Everybody at the school and in the swimming community has provided wonderful support,’’ she said.
With Rankin leading the way, it should be an exciting season for the Gators.

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