There’s often an asterisk when athletes dominate at a lower classification level because it’s unknown how they would fare against the best.

Luckily for Brianna Jurries, swimming does not have that unanswerable question.

At the Division II state meet on Nov. 3, the Valley Christian senior and Ahwatukee Foothills resident won a pair of state championships, including the 200-yard individual medley in a time of 2:03.74.

The Division I meet, with the majority of the state’s best swimmers, took place a few hours later, and even with her gold medal already in hand, Jurries couldn’t help but compare.

“I know the top swimmers, so after each session I would check,” she said. “Did I beat her?”

Mountain Pointe’s Clara Jenck captured the 200 IM state title with a time of 2:04.63, and it didn’t take long for Jurries to realize her time trumped everyone, regardless of division.

“I was so happy,” Jurries said. “And I think I set a pool record with the IM. I’ve worked so hard with everything the past couple years. Even though it wasn’t my goal (to have the best time), it’s kind of cool.”

Jurries’ domination on the lower levels and her ability to compete with the best has garnered her the East Valley Tribune’s Girls Swimmer of the Year award.

In addition to the 200 IM title, Jurries captured the 100-yard breaststroke championship, the fourth straight year she did so. She became just the ninth Arizona swimmer in the past 50 years to win the same event four times and had no idea of the exclusive club until the day before the finals.

“I was watching back to the prelims and the announcer was yelling it during the race,” Jurries said. “That was really cool because it’s a feat not a lot of people have accomplished.”

Jurries is in the unique position of not knowing what events she will swim in college. She is a standout at the individual medley and breaststrokes, but can also excel in the butterfly. She is also toying with different distances.

Jurries hasn’t yet picked a school, but wants to find a coach and team to which she feels a great connection.

And like most top-tier swimmers, a shot at the Summer Olympics in 2016 would be a dream come true.

“I was such a nerd watching the Olympics (this summer),” she said. “World travel definitely intrigues me, and if I can use swimming to get to that kind of level, why not shoot for the national team? That would be so, so cool.”

All-Tribune First Team

Name/ Yr. /School /Event /Comment

Victoria Toris /So. /Pinnacle /50 Free /Won state and finished with automatic All-America time

Samantha Getzen/ Jr. /Notre Dame /100 Free /Won D2 in this event and 100 Fly

Kat Simonovic /Sr. /Mountain View /200 Free/ Tenth AZ swimmer to win same event four times; also won 100 fly

Isabel Whited /Fr. /Pinnacle /500 Free /Won state title by more than six seconds

Briana Jurries/ Sr. /V. Christian /200 IM/Won D-II, faster than any D-I swimmer; also won 100 breast

Clara Jenck /Sr. /M. Pointe /100 Back /Won this event and 200 IM in D-I

Madeline Wells /Sr./ Xavier /100Breast/ Top E.V. D-I finisher at state

Kyra Tatlow/ Jr. /Westwood/ Diving /Won Division I championship

Swimmer of the Year: Brianna Jurries, Valley Christian

Coach of the Year: Laura Spinn, Pinnacle: The Pioneers finished second to Xavier in Division I.


All-Tribune Second Team

Name /Yr./ School/ Event /Comment

Samantha Fazio /So. /Pinnacle /50 Free Third in D-I

Kathleen Mulligan /Sr. /Xavier /100 Free /Second-fastest in state; 2nd in 100 back

Meredith Klosterman /Jr. /Notre Dame /200 Free /Third in D-2; also third in 500 Free

Kendra Griffin/ Sr. /Pinnacle/ 500 Free /Second to Whited in D-I race

Sarah Takach /So. /Horizon /200 IM /Second to Jenck in D-I

Madeline Nichols /So. /Desert Vista /100 Back /Third in D-I

Ashley Grijalva /Jr./ Gilbert /100 Breast/ Third in D-I

Maddy Brandt/Jr. /Xavier/ 100 Fly /Fourth in D-I

Cassi Blakeman /So./ Red Mountain /Diving /Second to Tatlow in D-I

Contact writer: (480) 898-6834 or Follow his blog at, or find him on Twitter @Kyle_Odegard.

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