Three Southern Arizona swimmers finished first in their respective events Thursday afternoon in the opening day of preliminaries at the state swimming and diving meet at the Kino Aquatics Center in Mesa.

Salpointe Catholic's Alex Leighton is sitting in first in the 100-yard butterfly after a time of 50.51 seconds.

Canyon del Oro's Maggie McCord had the top time heading into Saturday's finals in the 50 freestyle at 23.50, and Ironwood Ridge's Matthew Berg leads in the 100 backstroke at 51.60.

Thursday was the preliminaries for Division I. Division II schools have preliminaries today, starting at 1 p.m.

The finals for both divisions are Saturday at noon.

The Salpointe boys team had several high finishers other than Leighton. Tyler Mattingly is in third in the 200 freestyle at 1:43.67.

He also took fourth in the 500 freestyle at 4:41.12.

The Lancers' 200 medley relay team took third in 1:38.64. Leighton, Jo Jo Simonson, Jesse Hansen and John Hines made up the team.

McCord had a solid opening day for the Dorados. Besides her first-place finish in the 50 free, she took fifth in the 100 freestyle in 52.35.

She also teamed with Mary Baumann, Savanna Hines and Stephanie Strickland to finish third in the 200 free relay. Their time was 1:40.09.

The Dorados finished three spots ahead of Salpointe in that race.

Salpointe's team of Meredith Byl, Alex Munroe, Miranda Lyle and Laura Graziano took sixth (1:41.34).

Rincon/University's Reed Patterson finished two spots behind Leighton in the 100 butterfly in third place in 51.09 and advanced to the finals.

Other local swimmers to advance to Saturday's finals include Ironwood Ridge's Daniel Bleyl in the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly.

The Nighthawks' 400 freestyle relay team of Bleyl, Berg, Craig Simmons and David McGovern also advanced, finishing eighth.

On the girls side for Ironwood Ridge, Sara Borendame advanced in the 100 breast stroke competition.

Mountain View's Kelsey Wuoti advanced in the 200 freestyle, finishing sixth.

The top 16 in each event advanced to the finals.

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