The qualifications standards are tougher and the number of state swimming meets drops from five to two.

Other than that, nothing has really changed in boys and girls swimming/diving for the 2010 season.

Coaches from around the state are looking at it differently and it is no different with Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe.

Pride head coach Steve Mancuso doesn't like the fact that the regional meets have been eliminated.

"It's a disappointment as far as competition for our region meet because it gave us something to win before taking on Brophy," he said. "It was something we could shoot for and take that confidence into the state meet."

Brophy has won 22 straight boys titles and Xavier has won 11 straight girls titles. The schools not only won with elite competitors but flooded the pools with depth as well. Their third and fourth best swimmers would rack up points to blow away the rest of field.

Now that there will more quality teams in Division I (65 schools instead of 30 that were in Class 5A Division I) it will bring those schools back to the pack a little bit.

"It will be interesting to see how it plays out," Desert Vista coach Shawn O'Connell said. "Some of that depth (for Brophy/Xavier) presumably will be finishing lower with more talented programs involved."

Desert Vista has been one of the teams chasing those schools each year. The Thunder finished second last season in boys and girls.

The Thunder figure to be strong again on the girl's side with state champion (50 freestyle) and record holder (breaststroke) Katie Olsen leading the way.

Seniors Lauren Torres (100 fly, 100 free) and Stephanie Shober (100 free) will also be counted on heavily with juniors Elise Cole and Lauren Hopper figured to be the leaders in diving.

"We have been in the running with Xavier the last couple of years and that is our challenge," O'Connell said. "We lost some of our individuals, but we have a lot of point scorers from the state meet back."

On the boy's side for Desert Vista, the depth of years past isn't there but the newcomers are ready to contribute.

"We have some kids who were on the doorstep of being qualifiers last year and they have come in enthusiastic and ready to get better," O'Connell said.

The top competitors will be Clayton Lanham (100 fly, 200 IM) and Mark Young (50 free, 100 breast) and Ryan Dignan (diving).

For Mountain Pointe there is plenty of experience to build off of as the Pride return 15 state qualifiers from a year ago when they finished fifth in the boys state meet and eighth in the girls.

On the boys side Zach Bradley (200 IM, 100 back), Jeff Ding (500 free), Connor Engelmann (50 and 100 free), Julian Enriquez (200 free), Ben Fitch (500 free), Mark Lynch (100 back), Connor McCook (200 free, 100 breast), Filemon Scooler (500 free), Kenny Walton (100 back) are among the top competitors returning for Mountain Pointe.

"This entire group should be improved," Mancuso said. "A lot of them just got a taste of the state meet, finished in the bottom half in their event, but that experience will help. Connor Engelmann has really made some strides."

Bradley will also compete in the dive portion of meets as well for the first time.

"He has a chance to really have a great year," Mancuso said.

The girls return the entire 200-yard medley relay team that finished sixth in the state last season that was anchored by senior Stefanie Conroy, who finished eighth in the state in the individual 200 and also competed in the butterfly.

Senior Lauren Crider (100 breast, 200 IM), Courtney Fulton (400 free), sophomore Clara Jenck (200 free) and junior Nicole Van Alstine (100 butterfly) are the other top returning athletes.

"It's a good group," Mancuso said. "We will see how far they've come since last season."

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