Chaparral boys, Desert Mt. girls swim to victory

The Chaparral boys and girls swim teams won the 2022 state championships Saturday, Nov. 5 at Skyline Aquatic Center in Mesa. Desert Vista's boys placed second.  (Joey Plishka/Progress Contributor)

A year removed from its defeat at the hands of Desert Vista, the Chaparral boys swim team returned to the state finals in 2022 with a goal to achieve what they did in 2020, win the state championship.

Desert Vista boys beat Chaparral by only two points in the 2021 finals. Since last year, the Firebirds have had their eye on a championship in 2022.

“On the boys’ side, we’ve been motivated since a year ago,” Chaparral coach Russel Krzyzanowski said.

Chaparral made it clear that they were not going to go down easy as both the boys and girls’ teams would dominate the day at the pool with each team walking away with a championship trophy. It is the second time they have accomplished the feat in three years.

“We’re just looking for redemption this year and try to bring one back for Chaparral,” senior Tristan Dalbey said.

Chaparral boys soared above second place Desert Vista, finishing with a total of 390.5 points while Desert Vista managed 273 points – a difference of 117.5 points.

The two teams set the tone early in the opening 200 medley relay with Desert Vista setting a state record during the opening race with a time of 1:31.75 and Chaparral finishing not far behind with a time of 1:32.48.

Although the Thunder won the opening race, the Firebirds responded by finishing with podium positions in the individual races as well as a pair of relays to break open the scoring in their favor.

“We couldn’t be happier, honestly,” Desert Vista head coach Stacey Gibson said. “We broke a state record in the medley relay, and we’re excited to take that home.”

Despite the second-place finish, the Thunder was happy about their ability to stay competitive throughout the day.

Dalbey took first in the 50-freestyle, finishing with a time of 20.63 and beating out Hamilton’s Ian Pickles by 0.05 seconds. Casteel’s August Vetsch would finish third in that race, making him the third swimmer to reach All-American Consideration in the race.

Dalbey would also finish third in the 100-freestyle with a time of 45.94, while also being a crucial piece in the 200-freestyle relay and the 400 freestyle relay wins to close out the victory for the Firebirds.

Desert Vista’s Tres Mungia took first in the 200 individual medley and was a reliable swimmer in the 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relays, helping the Thunder finish second and third in those races respectively.

Other notable performances came from Higley’s Keaton Jones, who set a state record in the 200-freestyle with a time of 1:35.72. Jones also earned All American Auto in the 100-backstroke with a time of 48.28.

“I feel like I’ve been working so hard for so long and you can win so many times but once your names at the top, it feels so good,” Jones said.

Chaparral’s girls won their ninth consecutive state championship, finishing the day with 315 points with Horizon scoring 262 and Desert Vista scoring 224 to round out the top three. They took two of three relays, finishing first in the 200-medley relay in 1:47.88 and the 400-freestyle relay with a time of 3:30.33.

Red Mountain’s Sophia Jahn had a notable day posting two individual wins in the 100-butterfly with a time of 54:33 and the 50 freestyle, both of which were good for All-American Auto recognition.

Chaparral’s Ella Cosgrove had a successful day as well, taking first place in two individual races. Cosgrove won the 200 freestyle and the 500 freestyle while also leading the relays for the Firebirds.

“Ella led off (the relays) and hopefully she’s the girls’ swimmer of the year,” Krzyzanowski said.

In Division II, Desert Mountain’s girls took home the state title yet again while the boys were upset by Millennium for the title.

Gabrielle Primiano was key for the Wolves in their state championship, as she took home gold in the 200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke and was part of the team that won the 200-medley relay and 400-freestyle relay.

As a result, Primiano received Swimmer of the Year honors while her coach, Crystal Strimple, was named Coach of the Year.

At the end of the day, Chaparral completed the state sweep in convincing fashion, leaving behind no doubt that they worked hard to achieve the sweep.

That goal became a reality Saturday night. As both boys’ and girls’ teams huddled together, both trophies broke through the blazing orange Arizona sunset, setting up a picture-perfect setting for a picture-perfect ending for Chaparral’s season

“We have a mission and a team bonding event to come together as a whole and to compete as something bigger than ourselves,” Krzyzanowski said.

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