Sometimes it takes several things to put together a good season.
For Gilbert senior Ashley Grijalva, those things — working on her technique, practicing and tapering — all added up to a special state meet, including a state championship in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Her performance this season, capped by an all-American time in the specialty stroke on Nov. 9, earned her the Tribune Girls Swimmer of the Year honors.
“A lot of little things added up,” Grijalva said in describing her season. “Working on my technique, for example, pushing off faster and gliding leads to fewer strokes, and cuts time.”
Grijalva covered the 100-yard distance in 1:02.46, more than a second better than her preliminary time of the day before (and her previous personal best) and two and half seconds faster than her nearest competitor. She also came in fifth in the 200 individual medley.
“It has been an honor to compete the last three years and reach the top 16 but there is nothing like being called, ‘State Champion,’” Grijalva said.
Not long after the state meet, Grijalva committed to the University of Houston, where she will compete in the 100 and 200 breaststroke events as well as the 200 and 400 individual medleys.
Desert Vista’s standard setting season was represented by junior Cecilia Kowalski, who tied for first in the 200 and finished third in the 500, while Shawn O’Connell was named the Coach of the Year.
“Trying for a long, long, long time,” O’Connell said after the state championship. “Being lucky in a cycle at our school where the outgoing seniors are there long enough for the incoming freshmen to come in. A bit of luck. Determination. This team was mentally tough.”
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Girls All-Tribune First Team
Event Name Yr. School Comment
50 Free Victoria Toris Jr. Pinnacle Won 50 and 100 free in all-American time
100 Free Madison Mullins So. Hamilton Second in 100
200 Free Cecelia Kowalski Jr. Desert Vista Tied for first in 200, third in 500
500 Free Isabel Whited So. Pinnacle State champion in 500
100 Butterfly Samantha Getzen Sr. Notre Dame Won 100 fly, 100 freestyle in Division II
100 Backs Matti Harrison So. Arcadia Won 100 back
100 Breast Ashley Grijalva Sr. Gilbert Tribune Swimmer of the Year won event in all-American time
200 IM Katie Shannahan Jr. Desert Mtn. Won 200 IM and 100 fly
Diving Baylee Stipp So. Campo Verde Won Division II title
Coach of the Year: Shawn O’Connell, Desert Vista: Led his team to a state title, snapping Xavier’s 14-year winning streak.
All-Tribune Second Team
Event Name Yr. School Comment
50 Free Samantha Fazio Jr. Pinnacle Second at 23.40 and 2nd in 100 back
100 Free Sydney Dahl Sr. Campo Verde Third in 50 and fourth in 100 in Division II
200 Free Taylor Steele So. Seton Catholic Third in Division II
500 Free Adriana Palomino Jr. Chandler Fourth in 200 and 500 free
100 Butterfly Maddy Brandt Sr. Xavier Second in Division I
100 Back Meredith Klosterman Sr. Notre Dame Third in Division II
100 Breast Raevin Richardson Jr. Perry Third in Division I
200 IM Cecina Babich Morrow Sr. Scottsdale Prep Third in 200 IM and 100 fly in Div. II
Diving Sydney Stallard Sr. Mtn. View Third in Division I
Honorable Mention: Searra Sandlin, Sr., Arizona College Prep, 100 breast, 50 free; Caroline Strolic, Fr., Notre Dame, 100 breast, 200 IM; Madeline Russell, Jr., Notre Dame, diving; Megan Bowers, Jr., Gilbert Classical Academy, diving.