Trey Roggenstein and Maddie Nichols of Desert Vista represent the future of swimming in Ahwatukee Foothills while Mountain Pointe’s Ben Fitch and Clara Jenck, once in the same position of their Thunder counterparts, finished their terrific careers.
The Division I state meet at Skyline Aquatic Center on Saturday was one of emotion and performance along with an exciting atmosphere.
Considering the team races are known before the season even starts — Brophy for the boys and Xavier for the girls — this event is all about individual performance.
And for some it is not as much about winning a title as it is posting a specific time.
Jenck, a senior who has officially visited Duke and Brown with Colorado up next, was disappointed despite defending her title in the 100 backstroke because her time of 56.31 seconds was not up to standard.
“I’d rather finish second and post a better time than win it and not swim my best,” she said. “I always want to get better and I didn’t do that today.”
Unless the 200 IM is taken into consideration, as she won the event even though she really hasn’t concentrated on it all that much.
“It was my best time and I wasn’t expecting to win, but it is a good feeling when you look up (at the digital scoreboard) and see a No. 1 next to your lane,” she said. “I couldn’t really see it and my friends let me know (with their excitement), and then I finally saw it.”
Fitch had a similar reaction to his day as Jenck after finishing third in the 200 free and fifth in the 500 free.
“I am kind of disappointed overall, to be honest,” Fitch said. “I messed up on the little things, which was really frustrating because it was the whole focus. I don’t know if it was nerves or an off day. It is what is. I did my best and that’s all I can do.”
Fitch was also part of the 200 free relay, which also included Julian Enriquez, Andrew Argaez and Bryce Burchi, that finished eighth for the Pride.
The rest of the day’s success mostly belonged to the Thunder and its young squad.
Roggenstein, a junior, finished fifth in the 200 breast, and was on the 200 medley relay team along with junior Connor Bagnall, sophomore Grant Bowers and senior Cole Miller, who also finished sixth in the 50 free and set the school record.
“Overall, we were fantastic,” Thunder coach Shawn O’Connell said. “As a swimming coach you cannot come into a meet like this and expect everyone to have their best times all of the time. You feel for the kids who don’t get there, but you can’t forget about those who did.
“We had a lot of young swimmers with big success this weekend.”
In addition to Roggenstein, he singled out Bagnall clocking the school’s second fastest times in the 200 IM and 100 back.
On the girl’s side of things Nichols, a sophomore, and her classmate, Cecelia Kowalski, showed why O’Connell is excited about the next few years for the program.
Kowalski finished fourth in the 500 free and eighth in the 200 free, while Nichols finished third in the 100 back.
Nichols also led off the Thunder’s second-place 200 medley relay team, along with seniors Mary Geavaras, junior Bailee Blankemeir, and senior Nicole Melosi.
Kowalski was the anchor on the 400 free squad that finished eighth along with freshman Annabella Ankeney, junior Emily Ankeney, and Blankemeir.
The other top eight finish for the Thunder was the 200 free relay that came in fifth as Nichols, the Ankeney sisters, and Geavaras just missed receiving a medal.
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.