Photo by Andrew Brown ’18 | Brophy swimmers leap into the pool to begin a freestyle race.
By Jack Davis ’19
The swim team hopes to capture its 29th consecutive state championship this season and aspires to win its first national championship since 2005.
The team is returning most of its roster from the previous season, hoping for personal growth and better times in the state meets.
“We had four great seniors last year, but there was only four so we didn’t lose that much quantity from our team,” said swimmer Jack Blake ’17. “We still dominated so we’re coming back with pretty much the same team if you look at the signs from last year. We had a young team at state last year, we’re more experienced … our juniors and seniors this year are coming back and a lot of us placed at state. We’re looking to just place higher.”
Head coach Mr. Patrick O’Neill said that the team has been putting “hay in the barn” during practice in preparation for the state meet and nationals.
“What they’ve been doing and what we’re doing right now is we’re putting ‘hay in the barn,'” Mr. O’Neill said. “And when we get to the state swim meet, we’re going to take all of that hay out of the barn and use it.”
With a strong state meet performance, Brophy will set themselves up for success on the national level.
“The times we get at state will be the times they use for nationals,” Mr. O’Neill added. “We look to be in the top five teams in the country this year if our boys perform like I think they will.”
Mr. O’Neill said that he hopes to see the team improve on its relay times.
“I would like to see us in the top two or three in our freestyle relays,” Mr. O’Neill said.
Brophy’s near three decades of swim success is partly a result of their rigorous year-round training schedule students who also swim on club teams undertake, with only two week breaks during Christmas and the end of summer for many.
Mr. O’Neill said that the preparation in practice leads to results in the meets.
“We don’t magically or accidentally do anything great in the swim meets unless we’ve prepared for it,” Mr. O’Neill said. “Our success comes from the quality of practice that we have and not from the quality of swims that we have at the meets.”
“For us, the toughest test is always staying focused, staying concentrated and working hard throughout the season so we have a great state meet,” Mr. O’Neill said. “The challenge is not necessarily any of the other teams, the challenge is our own minds; staying focused and keeping the hard work in the pool.”
Blake said that the ultimate goal is a national championship.
“We’re not really looking at anyone in the state,” Blake said. “There’s no real competition … we’re looking at more on the national level. There’s Bolles, a team in Florida that’s won a few national titles in the past few years and St. Xavier in Kentucky that’s another big team we’re going after. Those are just national rankings where we see where we’re looking later down the road before state.”
While swimmers are prepared to work hard toward a national title, they’re already put at a disadvantage.
“Arizona is one of two states who do high school swimming in the fall, the rest of the country does high school swimming in the spring,” Blake said. “We’re swimming in November and then we’ll to have to wait until June to get those results, which is going to be tough.”