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.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

XCP swimmer Rankin commits to Ohio State

Mia Rankin has learned to develop a penchant for patience as she enters her senior swimming season at Xavier Prep.

It has served her well in her first three seasons in the water for the Gators. Patience helped her achieve her greatest success in the longer events, knowing when to make her move in the 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard individual medley and relays.

She helped Xavier win the Division I state championship as a freshman in 2017, with second-place finishes as a sophomore in 2018 and a junior in 2019. She competed in the 500 free, 200 IM and some relays at the state meets.

Now, nobody seems to know when, or if, Rankin will be able to get back in the pool for XCP this fall. She knows that she and her teammates will need to have patience as they await word from the school’s athletic department, the Diocese of Phoenix and the Arizona Interscholastic Association as they sort out the COVID virus scenario.

In the meantime, Rankin can look forward to 2021 and beyond after recently announcing her commitment to study and swim for the prestigious program at Ohio State.

Xavier Prep swimmer Mia Rankin (Xavier photo).
“I’m really excited about going there,’’ she said, although she hasn’t actually visited the campus due to quarantine issues that surfaced with the onset of the invasion of the virus.

She hopes to be able to get there sometime soon.

“We (she and OSU coaches) talked at the beginning, and I was able to meet most of the team over the phone and Zoom,’’ she said.

Rankin has continued to swim for her Phoenix Swim Club club team at the pool adjacent to the Phoenix Country Day School on the city’s northeast side, but some of the time in the water has been curtailed due to the virus.

She is hopeful that she and the new group of seniors will not be as affected as were athletes from 2019-20. Most of the spring sports were stopped in March, barely before their seasons got going.

“I feel bad for the girls who graduated this year. They couldn’t finish what they started,’’ Rankin said. “I hope we can get back to a regular school year (on campus) and if it means having to wear masks, it would be OK.’’

Her final four college choices were Ohio State, the University of Arizona, Southern Methodist and Indiana.

“Recruiting can be a hard process,’’ she said.

OSU coaches have sent Rankin a few videos that will offer some advice on practices and some exercises, etc., to help her prepare for being a Buckeye.

Rankin expects to swim in the longer events, particularly the mile. She said the team lost its top miler, which she hopes will open the door for her at that spot.

Xavier’s coach is Rankin’s father, Mark, who took over the program late in the 2017 season after the death of his wife and Mia’s mother, Maureen “Mo’’ Rankin.  Before she died after a courageous battle with cancer, Mo helped put the Gators in position for a run at the state title, which they ultimately achieved.

Mo would have been proud to see her swimmers finish strong, and she would be more than proud of Mia as she takes the next step.

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