Scottsdale Prep swim

Micaela Young (left) and Tatum Hennessy (right) perform a synchronized front one-and-a-half pike dive at Eldorado Pool while teammates watch from afar.

The Scottsdale Preparatory Academy (SPA) girls’ swim team finished first in their dual meet against Saguaro and Seton Catholic Preparatory high schools on Thursday, at Eldorado Aquatic and Fitness Center.

The Spartan girls’ team finished with 127 points, followed by Saguaro with 109, and then Seton Catholic with 53.

The SPA boys’ swim team came in second place, scoring 80 points on the day.

“Overall, the team did great today,” said coach Nikita Denisyako. “They all swam their off-events.”

Denisyako chose to make this decision in order to keep his swimmers fresh for this Saturday’s Small Schools Invitational at Phoenix Country Day School (PCDS). The team is in the midst of arguably their busiest week of the season, with two duals meets and an invitational crammed into a five-day span.

The SPA dive team also competed and was able to be scored for the first time since the PCDS Eagle Invitational on Sept. 27. Their scores are being processed and should be released to the divers in the coming days.

This year’s team is composed of three divers, freshman Aiden Moore, and juniors Micaela Young, and Joseph Stewart.

The only other competitive diver in attendance was Saguaro high school sophomore, Tatum Hennessy. All four divers compete for Clavadistas Del Sol, a diving club in Scottsdale, therefore, the competition turned friendly very quickly.

“I think we’ve got a pretty good bond by now,” Young said on her three diving club teammates. “We’ve really grown over the years as divers.”

Young has grown especially close to Hennessy. Hennessy has been diving since she was 4 years old, not to be outdone by her long-time diving teammate, Young, who began diving when she was 8.

The two were allowed to complete a synchronized front one-and-a-half pike dive together, a rarity in high school competition, but a friendly tradition that was due for a renewal.

“We used to do synchro when we were really little, like years and years ago on club,” Hennessy said on why she wanted to complete the dive with Young.

The synchronized movements didn’t stop there, as the two could be seen back on the diving boards following their events. Except this time, they were trying to toss and catch each other’s shammies in mid-air, a spectacle that kept the parents and divers in constant laughter.

Young comes from a long line of family divers. Her mother, Lisa De Luca, and older sister both competed at the high school level. De Luca is a parent volunteer, who helps score the divers and give tips to improve their performance.

“I’ve liked being able to teach the coaches,” De Luca said on her favorite part of volunteering. “As these kids graduate, they’ll know and have the experience on what they need to do to keep them going.”

To De Luca, this includes passing on everything from scoring divers to registering them for different meets.

Denisyako made sure that his swimmers cheered on the divers as they competed, and the divers took notice.

“It’s really nice to see that they actually care,” Stewart said. “We’re not really with the swimmers as much, so it’s kind of nice to be all of us together more.”

The team now heads back to PCDS this weekend, where both Spartan teams lost against the Eagles, 198-177 for girls, and 228-126 for boys, just this past Tuesday. SPA has a chance to rebound against one of their biggest Division III competitors this season and punch more swim and dive state tournament tickets.

Colin Romaglia is a sports journalism student at Arizona State's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism covering Scottsdale Prep athletics.