ARIZONA HIGH SCHOOL DIVISION I STATE CHAMPIONSHIP MEET
- November 6th, 2020
- Brophy College Prep, Phoenix, Arizona (Diving)
- Skyline Aquatic Center, Mesa, Arizona (Swimming)
- Short Course Yards (SCY) format
- Timed finals, top 16 scoring
- Results on Meet Mobile: “AIA D1 Swim & Dive Championship”
Despite the need to alter the meets formatting as a precaution due to COVID, Arizona high schools held their Division I State Championship meet on Friday, November 6th. The meet was divided up into “shifts” of three to four events, with breaks in between to allow athletes to warmup or cooldown. The boys competed in the morning while the girl’s meet didn’t take place until the afternoon.
One of the top performers at the boy’s meet in the morning was University of Arizona commit Tate Bahti of Sunnyslope High School. Bahti posted the top time in both the 200 IM (1:51.77) and 100 breast (56.42), with both swims being new best times. He was also a part of Sunnyslope’s 200 medley and 400 free relays, both of which took 2nd. Last year Bahti was the Division II state champion in the 100 breast, winning the event in a then-best time of 56.96. He also added a third-place finish in the 200 IM (1:52.57).
Bahti was recognized as the boy’s Athlete of the Year for his performance.
Joining Bahti in winning multiple events at the boy’s meet was Rick Popper of Boulder Creek High School. Popper was dominant in the sprint freestyle events, sweeping the 50 and 100 free. He took the top spot in the 50 free with a time of 21.15, while he won the 100 free in 46.66. Both of these swims were just off of his lifetime bests. He also added a 21.26 leadoff leg on Boulder Creek’s 200 free relay that took 2nd and anchored their 4th place 400 free relay in 46.79.
The competition for the boy’s meet championship came down to a battle between two schools, Chaparral High School and Desert Vista High School. Despite not winning a single event throughout the meet, Chaparral was able to pull out the win by a score of 302 to 285.
At the women’s meet, Chaparral’s Ashley Strouse was dominant, winning all four of the events she participated in. After anchoring her school’s winning 200 medley relay in 23.37, she won the 200 free by just under four full seconds (1:47.15). Her win in the 200 free was only part of an impressive showing from Chaparral in the event, as members of the team took the top four places. She later added a 4:46.20 in the 500 free to win the event by over 13 seconds and led off her schools 400 free relay in 50.70. Strouse, who has Olympic Trials cuts in the 200 and 400-meter freestyles, is committed to swim at Northwestern University next fall.
She was honored as the Women’s Swimmer of the meet for her performances.
Joining Strouse as the only other multiple event winner at the girl’s meet was Millennium High School junior and NC State commit Kennedy Noble. Noble posted the top time in the 200 IM (2:00.70) and 100 back (52.95). While her 100 back was just off of her best time, her 200 IM marked a .17 drop in the event from her previous best. She also led off Millennium’s 3rd place 200 medley relay (24.69) and anchored their 4th place 400 free relay (50.84).
Chaparral won the women’s meet by a large margin, beating out Xavier by almost 200 points to finish with 452.5 points.
- Boy’s Coach of the Year – Shawn O’Connell, Desert Vista
- Boy’s Athlete of the Year – Tate Bahti, Sunnyslope
- Girl’s Coach of the Year – Bob Chen, Chandler
- Girl’s Athlete of the Year – Ashley Strouse, Chaparral
While the meet was filled with fast swimming, it was lacking one of Arizona’s most historic men’s swimming programs. Brophy Prep, which had won the previous 32 editions of the boy’s Division I State Championships, was forced to pull out of the meet just days ago following a positive test for COVID on the team. Last year they won the meet by almost 200 points over this year’s champions Chaparral. Brophy Prep was ranked first in 5 different events on the psych sheet prior to their withdrawal from the meet.