SUNSET SWIMMING: Palo Verde leaves no doubt who is the best in Class 4A

Updated May 13, 2017 - 9:38 pm

Palo Verde is simply that good.

The Panthers rolled Saturday, as both their boys and girls swim teams clinched the top spots in the Class 4A Sunset Region swim championships at UNLV with gaudy score totals.

The Panthers’ boys scored 567 points to seal a region title, 269 points better than second-place Bishop Gorman. The girls scored 562½ to win theirs, which better than double the score of Bishop Gorman, which finished in second with 235.

“It’s about what we expected coming in,” Palo Verde coach Brent Gonzalez said.

It is the 16th consecutive region title for the boys, and third forthe girls. The boys have won the last four state titles, and the girls have won the last two.

Junior Allie Emery won girls swimmer of the year honors for Palo Verde during the meet, finishing first in both the 50-yard freestyle (24.02 seconds) and the 100 freestyle (52.08).

“She won the 100 freestyle at state last year and wants to repeat this year and wants to try and win the 50,” Gonzalez said. “She has her teammate to worry about there though with Emelia (Piccininni). But she’s been very positive and very focused on doing well at state all year.”

It took strong performances from more than just Emery to rack up the score totals Palo Verde did Saturday, and the sweep was certainly a team victory. In total, the Panthers won 14 events across their boys and girls out of the 22 swimming events.

“Everybody as a team improved and went after races,” Gonzalez said. “It wasn’t just one individual. It was just everybody. They all went out and had some good races.”

Sophomore Conner Wattles added the cherry on top with a win in the diving meet Thursday for the Panthers.

The focus for the defending state champions since the year started was making sure they were not the team to lose it, and the Panthers took one more step to achieving that goal with their dominating performance at regionals.

“It’s been all about state since the beginning of the year,” Gonzalez said. “So now we know who’s going and who’s doing what and it’s on to the next step. That’s all we’re focused on now is trying to have a good state meet.”

Legacy’s Tama Tuitama earned swimmer of the year honors on the boys side. He won both the 100 breaststroke (58.0) and the 200 individual medley (1:51.62) for Legacy during the region meet.

Spring Valley’s Jean Rees and Sierra Vista’s David Jurvelin earned girls and boys coach of the year honors, respectively, during the meet.

Contact reporter Bill Slane at or 702-380-4559. Follow @bill_slane on Twitter.