A strong showing from Emily Giarrizzo and Julie Gibson at the Arizona State Swimming Championships will be proof the Rim Country can nurture good swimmers despite the lack of year-round training facilities.
The championships tipped off today, July 23, and will continue through Sunday at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe.
The two girls will compete in the morning hours with the other qualifiers in their age groups, and if they finish in the top 16 of any event, they will be invited to an afternoon session for the championship finals.
Giarrizzo, 10, qualified for four events in the 10-years-and-under (10U) age group. They are the 50-meter breaststroke, 100-meter breaststroke, 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter freestyle. She will also compete in the 200-meter freestyle relay and the 200-meter medley relay.
Gibson, competing in the 13-years-and-under (13-14U) age division qualified in the 50-meter breaststroke, 50-meter butterfly, 50-meter backstroke and 100-meter freestyle.
She will also swim relays.
Both girls are members of the Payson Pikes swim team and the Scottsdale Neptune Swim Club.
The girls also have been training in the winter months at the Tonto Apache Reservation pool under the tutelage of aquatic coach Sharon Strople.
Last spring, Giarrizzo and Gibson both qualified for the Arizona State Short Course Championships and competed in the USA Swim Eastern Regional meet.
In addition to competing in the upcoming state championships, Giarrizzo and Gibson will travel July 31 with the Pikes to the Verde Valley Invitational in Cottonwood.
Last year, both were high-point winners at the invitational.