Maybe it was the bagpipes, or all of the technical practice leading up to the state meet.
But Chandler sophomore Mark Jurek made quite the stir at Skyline High School on Nov. 9 — even before he swept two events and set state records along the way.
That’s because as the top qualifier in the 200 individual medley, Jurek got to choose the music played when the top eight swimmers march in for the final race. Jurek had Chandler coach Kerry Crosswhite play “Scotland the Brave,” on the bagpipes to lead the swimmers to the blocks.
Jurek admitted at the time he was nervous. In retrospect, the bagpipes served as a distraction.
“I knew when it would be my own time,” Jurek said of his amazing Saturday that helped earn him 2013-2014 Tribune Boys Swimmer of the Year honors.
Jurek won the 200 IM and the 100 butterfly, both in state record time, and overshadowed Chaparral’s Ryan Hoffer, who had the pool buzzing after breaking the state record in the 50-yard freestyle, the spotlight race of the meet, in the preliminaries the day before.
But Jurek said he didn’t mind the hype surrounding him. He cut nearly five seconds off his preliminary time in the medley event, clocking an all-American time of 1:48.31, more than a second faster than the previous state best.
Then, Jurek faced Hoffer in the butterfly after Hoffer had won the 50 free and had the best preliminary time in the butterfly. But Jurek overtook Hoffer over the final 25 yards and set another state record, 47.80, seven-hundredths of a second better than the record set in 2008.
“At the beginning of the season, I knew I was going to compete in the fly and the 200 IM so I went to work on my turns,” Jurek said.
That helped shave more time off his swims and put him in position to make an impressive statement at the state meet. And he still has two more years to go.
Desert Vista’s Michael Hopper had a terrific year, winning nearly every dual meet in dominant fashion, and took the Tempe City Meet by more than 100 points to earn a first-team All-Tribune selection. He finished the state meet with 411.35 points for a third place finish behind Sunnyslope’s Emmott Blitch (459.05 points) and Kellis’ Corey Moreno (449.65).
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Boys All-Tribune First Team
Event Name Yr. School Comment
50 Free Ryan Hoffer Fr. Chaparral Set state record in 50 free
100 Free Connor Stirling Jr. Cactus Shadows 2nd in 50, 100 sprints
200 Free Nicholas Magana Sr. Desert Mtn. Won title in all-American time
500 Free Weston Miller Sr. Chaparral Won 500 in Division I
100 Butterfly J.J. Osborn Sr. Saguaro Won fly, second in 50 in Division II
100 Back Austin Drummond Sr. Chaparral Won Division I title
100 Breast Matt Anderson Jr. Arcadia Won in All-America time, second in 200 IM
200 IM Mark Jurek So. Chandler Tribune Swimmer of the Year set state marks in 200 IM, 100 fly
Diving Michael Hopper Sr. Desert Vista Third in Division I
All-Tribune Second Team
Event Name Yr. School Comment
50 Free Joe Starkweather Sr. Notre Dame Won 500 free, second in butterfly in Division II
100 Free Austin Baker So. Gilbert Classical Won 100, third in 50 in Division II
200 Free Kyle Ewoldt Jr. Highland Second in 200, 500
500 Free Cason Flygare Sr. Queen Creek Won distance in Division II, took third in 200
100 Butterfly Rusty Shoemaker Sr. Mtn. View Third in Division I
100 Back Ryan Blair Sr. Desert Mtn. Second to Drummond in Division I
100 Breast Marcello Quarante Jr. Chaparral Took 2nd with all-America time
200 IM Alex Martinez Jr. Basha Third in Division I
Diving Seth Johnson Sr. Mesa Fourth in Div. I finals
Honorable Mention: Braxton Bilbrey, So., Notre Dame, 100 free, 100 breast; Adam Graunke, Sr., Gilbert, 100 free, 200 free; Colton Flygare, Sr., Queen Creek, 200 IM, 100 breast; Kevin Krupitzer, Sr., Campo Verde, 200 IM; Derek Bowers, Fr., Gilbert Classical Academy, diving