Oct. 6, 2004 - High school swim teams from the Northwest will take a break from regional play Oct. 9 to compete in the annual Dorado Relays hosted by Canyon del Oro High School.
Between five and eight schools will travel to the Oro Valley Pool in James Kriegh Park, 23 W. Calle Concordia, to swim in the 6th annual meet. Competing at the relays from the Northwest along with host CDO will be Marana and Ironwood Ridge high schools. Other schools expected to join are Santa Rita, Amphitheater and possibly Salpointe Catholic High School.
The morning meet is designed to be a mixture of hard-fought races and light-hearted events packaged in a competitive atmosphere.
"Some of the events are very competitive," said head CDO swim coach Chad Reister, "Some are fun. Sports are supposed to be fun and we try to work that into the Dorados."
All races at the Dorados will be relays races. Featured events will include a co-ed, two boys and two girls, 200-meter medley and freestyle and a 400-meter medley relay. Other relay meets will be boys and girls 200 freestyle relays and 200 medleys and a four-by-100 free style. To break from the competitiveness, the popular race among swimmers is the water polo race where swimmers take one lap each pushing a water polo ball across the lane.
For most teams, the Dorado Relays is a final tune up for a post-season run to regional tournaments.
Ironwood Ridge is one of the squads looking to make a push towards the regional playoffs. Head coach Mark Chatigny sees the Dorados as a chance to give his squad an opportunity to gain more experience for his younger swimmers and add some depth heading into key late-season meets.
"It will get us ready for Catalina Foothills and the regionals," said Chatigny. Catalina Foothills has dominated 4A swimming the last few years.
For Chatigny's young squad, his lineup will be considerably smaller due to the mid-semester Amphitheater School District intersession. The coach will be bringing between 45-50 swimmers from his 60-plus-member roster to the meet held at the same pool his squad practices and competes at. Staying active is the key for the Nighthawks during the mid-semester vacation.
"It's better than sitting around and doing nothing going into the end of the year," he said. Chatigny echoed Reister thoughts saying the meet is a great opportunity to work on times, but most importantly the Dorados are for the swimmers to have fun with.
Ironwood is feeling confident that it they will emerge from the Dorados strong and put the team in good shape for a post-season run. As recently as a few weeks ago, Chatigny has added two divers to his squad in an effort to avoid losing points to schools with divers.
The Nighthawks boys team is 5-2 while the girls have only fallen once this year and are 6-1. Chatigny likes the depth he sees in his girls squad. The most notable addition to his team this year is freshman Brittany Kloenne. A club member of Tucson Ford Aquatics, Chatigny estimates Kloenne swims between 12-14 hours a week between Ironwood Ridge and Tucson Ford. She already has state qualifying times in the 100-meter butterfly stroke and the 200-freestyle and as a freshman she is considered faster than most of the boys on the Nighthawks' team, said Chatigny.
"She's been a monster addition of us this year," said the coach of his freshman sensation.
Not to be out-done by the Ironwood Ridge, CDO is just as confident heading into the Dorados and the end of the year. The boys squad is 2-2 and two but could easily be 3-1 said Reister.
Just the same as Chatigny and Ironwood Ridge, Reister will use the Dorados to get all his swimmers a chance to swim.
"The Dorados is an opportunity to make sure all our kids get a chance to swim in a relay," said the CDO coach. "It's a camaraderie building event, created to build team pride."
Team pride will be soaring going into the Dorado Relays. CDO is coming off a third place finish at the Nike Elite Invitational held at the University of Arizona Oct. 2. The Dorados finished third among 30 teams and more than a 1,000 swimmers at the UA invite.
Marana will be looking to avenge its second place finish at the Dorado's last season by taking home the trophy this year. In 2003 CDO, edged out Marana and Ironwood Ridge (third place) to take first place.
Like the Nighthawks and Dorados, Marana will be setting itself up for a post-season run. The Tigers will use the Dorados to work on setting up clean exchanges in their relays. Marana boys team is undefeated this year (6-0) and is led by swimmers Jason Bowman and Keith Walker.
Marana head coach Kristin Bourget realizes the importance of setting up her squad for the regional playoffs, but recognizes the Dorados as an event created for the kids to enjoy themselves.
"It's probably the most fun meet we'll have," said Bourget. "It's a team bonding experience, but at the same time its definitely competitive."
The Dorado Relays will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Oro Valley Pool at James Kriegh Park, Oct. 9.