MESA — Krista Duffield almost pulled off a nearly impossible double-win Saturday as she helped Catalina Foothills sweep the Division II state swim meet.
Duffield won the premier event of the meet, the 50-yard freestyle and then, 20 minutes later, came seven-tenths of a second short in the 100 butterfly during the championships at Skyline Aquatic Center in Mesa.
Duffield also anchored the meet-closing 400 freestyle relay, entering the water in a tie with Salpointe Catholic in the next lane and out-sprinting Natalie Ward for the win.
“Krista is a fantastic athlete, she’s a gamer,” Foothills coach Ed Walter said. “When you get in a big meet situation like this, she is so strong, so competitive. She is just fun to watch, fun to coach.”
The team title was clinched with that point. The Falcons amassed 256 points, well ahead of Scottsdale Notre Dame at 205.5 and Salpointe third with 189.
“The whole weekend was a great meet,” Walter said. “We had 36 kids in the meet, and I think almost 100 percent lifetime bests. The kids dropped (times) like crazy (Friday). … Great races.”
Duffield hit the wall at 23.77 seconds in the 50,
.26 of a second ahead of second-place Angel Van Hofwegen of Phoenix Christian (24.03). Then, after the short break, she entered the butterfly with the fastest preliminary time. She dropped that by seven-tenths of a second, but Notre Dame’s Samantha Getzen, a double-winner Saturday, touched in 55.52, just ahead of Duffield’s 56.20.
“It’s hard, right after the 50. I warmed down and tried to warm back up,” Duffield said. “It’s hard but it’s fun. I am more of sprinter, so even my 100, I always run out of steam.”
The other near double win was Sabino sophomore Taylor Nations, who came in second to Getzen in the 100 freestyle by .12 of a second, but then won the 100 backstroke in 57.63 seconds, a second-and-a-half ahead of second place.
“I went in with not really much confidence because I knew I was seeded really close to everyone else,” Nations said. “I pulled off a first and a second, and I was really happy with the second because it was my best time.”
In the boys meet, Foothills easily outpointed Queen Creek 280-203, but it was Trey Cashion of Walden Grove who pulled off an impressive double win.
“There’s nothing better than racing one of your best friends,” Cashion said, nudging Foothills’ Matt Lujan after the 100 backstroke win. “I could see Matt and Max (Montour) both along my side. They are both good friends of mine, and it makes it that much more fun, like before the race we can motivate each other.”
Cashion started the day with an easy win in the 200 freestyle, clocking in at 1:39.90, well ahead of Montour of Phoenix Cortez (1:42.34). The win in the 100 backstroke came late in the meet.
Those events “are not too close to each other, so I had some rest in between,” Cashion said. “Definitely a lot of pressure, being a senior, you have to win.”
Cashion finished the 100 backstroke in an All-America time of 50.09, ahead of Lujan (51.01) and Montour (51.14).
“It was definitely harder,” Lujan said. “I did go faster; that was good. When I flipped at the last wall, I looked, and I saw Max was really close to me, and Trey was beating me. I was, ‘OK, I want second.’ ”
Lujan won the 200 individual medley in 1:55.58, more than two seconds ahead of Colton Flygare of Queen Creek.
Nate Belch of Foothills finished second in diving with 451.30 points, behind Cody Rankin of Phoenix Shadow Mountain (475.40).
In Division I, Brianna Leverenz of Rincon/University did her sister proud, tying for a win in the 200 freestyle and placing second in the 500 free.
Leverenz, the younger sister of 200 IM state record holder and Olympic medalist Caitlin Leverenz, tied Cecelia Kowalski of Phoenix Desert Vista with a time of 1:50.48. Leverenz finished the 500 in 4:57.36.
Tucson High freshman Delaney Schnell won the diving competition with 504.15 points, well ahead of Skylar Williams of Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor (432.95).