HIGH SCHOOL SWIMMING

Speedo Classic displays top talent despite storm

2010-10-03T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T09:49:28Z Speedo Classic displays top talent despite stormMichael J. Craven Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
October 03, 2010 12:00 am  • 

A group of swimmers sitting in the southwest corner of McKale Center started it.

They stood, raised their arms and screamed, which prompted a group in the northwest corner to follow suit. Then a group at the north end joined in, then the east. Soon, the entire arena was doing "the wave."

Midway through Saturday's 10th annual Speedo Classic, these were not the type of waves organizers hoped high school swimmers would be making.

A storm moved over Hillenbrand Aquatic Center around 3 p.m., causing an hour delay, and eventually the meet was canceled with three events remaining. But the early end did not prevent a few locals from making impressive performances.

Salpointe Catholic junior Alex Leighton edged Catalina Foothills sophomore Jason Alentado to win the 100 butterfly.

Leighton's time of 51.70 seconds shattered the meet record of 52.54, which stood for seven years.

"I'm really excited about how this season's been going," Leighton said. "I'm hoping to break 50 (seconds) this year. It's definitely doable."

Of the 38 teams competing, about half came from Southern Arizona. Most of the rest traveled from the Phoenix area.

On the girls side, Canyon del Oro's Maggie McCord (24.20 seconds) edged Salpointe's Meredith Byl (24.36) in the 50 freestyle.

McCord said she and Byl have a bit of a rivalry, because they always seem to be "neck and neck."

"I'm just really excited and really looking forward to state," said McCord, who finished fourth at state in the 50 free last season. The CDO junior also finished second in the 100 free on Saturday, and the Dorados' 200 freestyle relay team took third.

Sabino senior LeighAnne Oliver said she is looking forward to state, too, after a big win in the 500 free. Her 5:07.25 is her best time of the season.

Oliver aimed to make the most of the event after missing last week's Brophy/Xavier Invitational in Phoenix because of a recruiting trip.

Unfortunately for Oliver, the 100 breast stroke and the 400 freestyle relay, had not happened before the meet was called because of lightning in the area.

But because some swimmers, including Oliver, were counting on the Speedo for state qualifying times, organizers agreed to stay for several hours to see if the storm would pass. It eventually did, and time trials were run, which will count for state.

Oliver had a 1:07.83 in the breast stroke. She said the wait was worth it because, "I need to get my times in, even though the wait is a little ridiculous."

The wait was necessary. The Arizona Interscholastic Association changed the rules this year regarding state qualifying after eliminating regional competitions. Instead of only being able to qualify at regionals, swimmers must meet a certain time standard, and they must do it at an invitational, such as Saturday's.

Phoenix Xavier captured the girls team title with 259.5 points, followed by Phoenix Desert Vista with 168.5.

For the boys, Brophy dominated with 333.5. Salpointe was second with 142.

Only 9 of 12 events counted in the scoring because the meet ended early.

On StarNet: For more photos from Saturday's swim meet go to azstarnet.com/gallery

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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