Maricopa swimmers excel at state meet

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Nolan Ford has powered his way into the state finals. Photo by Victor Moreno

The Maricopa High School swim teams had their best showing in the four-year history of the program at the state championships 5-6 at Mesa’s Skyline High School Aquatic Center.

The Rams had six individual swimmers and four relays qualify for the state meet in which the girls finished 20th and boys 16th. MHS competes in the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s Division I, which includes the largest high schools in the state.

Laura Logan, who coaches both the boys and girls teams, said it was a tremendous jump from last year.

“This is the best we have done so far,” Logan said. “Last year we had just two swimmers and one relay (qualify for state). Our kids had a really great weekend and represented MHS and Maricopa extremely well.”

Leading the way for the Rams on the boys side was senior Nolan Ford, who finished second in the state in the 50 free. Ford qualified first with a time of 20.60 and went 20.92 in final to place second. His preliminary time of 20.60 is the fastest 50 free time in any of the Arizona’s three divisions at the state meet and lowered his own school record.

Ford’s 5- free time also garners him All-American consideration and qualified him for the Winter Junior National meet. He also made the finals in the 100 breast, finishing seventh in 59.5 seconds and giving him another school record.

Senior Connor Schrader was a finalist in the 100 backstroke, lowering his school record with a time of 53.3 seconds on the way to a seventh-place finish; he also finished 17th in the 100 butterfly in 53.7 seconds, yet another school best.

Connor Schrader, shown in a previous competition, made the state finals this week.

Benjamin Hames turned in a 22nd place finish in the 500 freestyle at 5:07.90, smashing his previous school record by seven seconds.

On the girls’ side, freshman Sidney Stolle made the finals in the 200 freestyle finishing in seventh place at 1:54.9 and tying her school record set two weeks earlier at the Charger Invitational in Tempe, where she also set the meet record.

Stolle just missed the final in the 500 Free, finishing in ninth place at 5:05.3 for yet another school record.

Katelyn Owens, a junior, finished 26th in the 100 breaststroke in 1:11.99 for a school record.

In the relays, the girls 200 medley relay team of freshman Rachel Grubbs, Owens, senior Dorianne Hames and sophomore MacKenzie Fair finished 25th, while the boys 200 medley team of Schrader, Ford, Hames and freshman Luis Quiroz-Sanches finished 19th and lowered the school record by 2.5 seconds.

The girls freestyle relay teams also acquitted themselves well. In the 200 free relay Fair, Hames, Owens and Stolle qualified 16th in 1:45.42, shaving more than three seconds off the school record and moved up seven places to qualify for the finals.

The same quartet finished in 24th place in the 400 free relay, shattering the school record by 14 seconds and lowering the mark to 3:52.40.

Logan said the teams worked hard for the success they achieved.

“Each of the swimmers mentioned are committed, hard-working swimmers,” Logan said. “They spend six days a week working to help create the best MHS athletic program and in my mind, we are the best.”

Logan said Ford and Schrader are having scholarship discussions with multiple schools to continue their swimming careers, but “nothing official at this point.”

While both the Maricopa teams posted their best finishes in school history at the state meet, Logan had an expectation of such success.

“There were no surprises,” she said. “We set goals at the beginning of the season both as individuals and as a team and we accomplished what we set out to do.”