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.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Swimmers, divers have Hope, so don't count them out

 To the Xavier Prep swimmers and divers and the fans who follow them . . .

When you are exhausted, down in the dumps and wondering what is next, do not worry.

There is always Hope.

Senior Hope Nolan is one of the most versatile athletes and lifts up the Gators, who edged out visiting Phoenix Desert Vista by one droplet of water, 95-94, on Thursday (Oct. 21) in XCP’s final dual meet of the regular season at Brophy Prep.

Hope Nolan is one of Xavier's senior leaders this season (Photo by Don Ketchum).

Nolan helped XCP win the 200-yard freestyle relay, finish second in the 400-yard freestyle relay, finished second in the 200-yard individual medley and third in the 100-yard butterfly.

In some of the bigger meets, she also swims in the 100-yard breaststroke.

Of course, there is no bigger meet than for the Division I state championship, which this season will be held Nov. 5-6 at the Skyline Aquatic Center in east Mesa. The diving will be held at Brophy.

“I would like to “podium,’’ (stand as one of the top three survivors in state events),’’ Nolan said.

“This is my favorite time of the year. I have trained super hard, especially this year, and a great finish like that would prove that I am one of the best of them,’’ she said.

Nolan, who swam for and learned about much of her experience with the Phoenix Swim Club, will  continue to swim at one of the top Catholic universities in the country, Fordham, in the New York City borough of the Bronx.

She recently made her commitment there and is looking forward to working with the coaching staff and her future teammates.

“I’m super excited to be able to go there,’’ she said, acknowledging she has met a few of the players and coaches.

The team has an international influence, with swimmers coming from Kenya, Denmark, Spain, Brazil and Finland.

Nolan has been to Fordham a few times, enjoying the atmosphere, but will not forget the atmosphere and the traditions at Xavier.

One of those traditions continued before the Desert Vista meet, where the swimmers gathered in a big group and went through a series of cheers. Everyone also took a brief break during the meet to celebrate Senior Day.

“Those kinds of things mean a lot,’’ Nolan said. “We are all super close. One of the most fun things is when you dive off the (starting) block and having everybody right there behind you, cheering for you.’’

Xavier’s top finishers

Xavier Prep 95, Desert Vista 94

200-yard medley relay – Xavier “A,’’ 2nd, 1:57.54 (Claire Douglas, Ashleigh Baros, Grace Hull, Lainey Weiland); Xavier “B,’’ 3rd, 1:57.59 (Carter Cook, Ava Gill, Ginger Mago, Daisy Maldonado).

200-yard freestyle – Daisy Maldonado, 2nd, 2:09.52; Claire Douglas, 3rd, 2:12.00; Ava Gill, 5th, 2:15.56.

200-yard individual medley – Hope Nolan, 2nd, 2:16.78; Grace Hull, 4th, 2:23.90; Ginger Mago, 5th, 2:27.48.

50-yard freestyle – Gracie Munk, 1st, 24.76; Dylan Miller, 3rd, 26.20; Lainey Weiland, 4th, 26.41.

100-yard butterfly – Gracie Munk, 1st, 57.97; Hope Nolan, 3rd, 1:00.25; Grace Hull, 4th, 1:03.49.

100-yard freestyle – Daisy Maldonado, 2nd, 56.25; Dylan Miller, 3rd, 57.42; Lainey Weiland, 4th, 59.24.5th

500-yard freestyle – Ashleigh Baros, 3rd, 5:35.18; Elle Edwards, 6:01.80.

200-yard freestyle relay – Xavier “A,’’ 1st, 1:42.93 (Gracie Munk, Hope Nolan, Dylan Miller, Daisy Maldonado); Xavier “B,” 3rd, 1:51.40 (Cassie Worth, Malina Lebedeff, Elle Edwards, Ashleigh Baros).

100-yard backstroke – Claire Douglas, 1st, 1:02.98; Carter Cook, 2nd, 1:06.19; Ginger Mago, 3rd, 1:07.37.

100-yard breaststroke – Ava Gill, 3rd, 1:14.62; Bella Guerra, 5th, 1:17.50.

400-yard freestyle relay – Xavier, 2nd, 3:43.54 (Gracie Munk, Hope Nolan, Dylan Miller, Lainey Weiland); Xavier, 3rd, 3:58.98 (Ginger Mago, Carter Cook, Ashleigh Baros, Grace Hull).

1-meter diving – Claira Chong, 3rd, 183.67 points; Michelle Mierzwa, 4th, 163.20; Anatasia Bhatti, 5th, 125.92.

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