It’s no surprise that Buckeye Verrado’s Amy Bilquist stood above the competition during the Division II girls state swim meet at Mesa’s Skyline Aquatic Center on Saturday morning.
The sophomore star does, after all, check in at 6-feet tall and has last summer’s U.S. Olympic Trials under her swimming belt.
Tuscon Salpointe Catholic took the overall team title, but Bilquist became only the second Arizona high school girl to break 23 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle, edging teammate Danielle Badger to capture the state crown.
She didn’t set the state record in the 50 free, but did set a mark for Division II in the process, finishing with a time of 22.96 seconds.
“I was hoping to break it (the 50 free state record),” Bilquist said. “I was just trying to listen to all of the tips my coaches gave me during the season and put it together in the finals.”
Bilquist also swam the anchor leg of the winning 400 free relay, combining with Badger, Picabo Bender and Nicole Kosowski for a convincing victory, capturing the top time by more than six seconds. Bilquist also swam a personal record in the 100 backstroke and was a member of the 200 free relay team that claimed a crown.
Bender had quite the day as well, scoring victories in the 200 and 500 free events.
As for the team title, Salpointe Catholic coach Chad Castillo was pleased to see his young charges perform on a state stage.
“We had a great influx of great freshmen swimmers,” Castillo said. “We knew the top teams from last year lost some firepower with the seniors they had last season. Our seniors this year were really determined.”
Samantha Getzen of Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep scored a pair of titles, taking the 100 butterfly with the time of 55.87 seconds and the 100 free with a time of 52.83 seconds.
Briana Jurries of Chandler Valley Christian also had two wins, capturing the girls 200 individual medley, topping Jaimie Bryan of Phoenix Country Day School for the crown, and got a victory in the 100 breaststroke.