Cibola junior Ayden Dusek was already the best boys swimmer in town before state.
He owned the area’s fastest time in four different individual events, and was named Most Outstanding Boys Swimmer at regionals. Oh, and he was also the only local boy to qualify for state in diving.
At state, Dusek separated himself from the competition even further.
Dusek, the 2019 Yuma Sun/Yuma Rotary Club Boys Swimmer of the Year, dropped two seconds off his 100 back time at the Arizona Interscholastic Association Division I state meet to become the Raiders’ highest boys state placer in eight years.
He took fifth in the event, which was also the highest finish by any local boy since 2013.
“That was like way greater than I ever could have imagined,” Dusek said.
Prior to state, Dusek’s best time in the 100 back was a 55.02, which seeded him 10th in Division I. In prelims, he swam a 53.65 to earn a spot in the ‘A’ final. The next day, he clocked a 53.01 for fifth.
For comparison, no other local swimmer broke the 1-minute mark in the 100 back this year.
Cibola coach Brad Broschat credited Dusek’s mindset for the state performance.
“Ayden is just the kind of swimmer he’ll say he’s nervous, but when he gets in the water, when he’s in his race, he’s in a groove, he’s very confident, very technical, very focused on what he’s doing,” Broschat said. “He’s got ice water in his veins, so to speak.”
“I had a lot of support from family, friends, coaches,” Dusek said. “I worked hard through the season, so I just wanted to go out with one final bang.”
It was Dusek’s second year in a row swimming the 100 back at state; last year, he placed 14th. And it was his third year in a row competing at state in diving, which he chose as he second individual event over several others.
“I’ve been doing it (diving) for a long time,” he said. “It’s a passion of mine, something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Dusek hit Division I provisional state-qualifying times in three events he didn’t enter — the 50 free (season-best 23.20), 100 free (48.36) and 200 IM (2:02.81).
His times in all three of those events ranked first locally, with the 200 IM time being roughly eight seconds faster than anyone else’s and the 100 free time being roughly two seconds faster.
He said he was most surprised by his improvement in the 200 IM, noting “that really wasn’t one of my strongest (events) at the beginning of the season.”
At the Colorado River Championships the week before state, Dusek won both the 200 IM and the 100 free with ease while also helping the Raiders take first in the 200 medley relay and second in the 200 free relay.
“There were some races Ayden just really stepped up and came through phenomenally in relays and individual events,” Broschat said. “I felt confident putting him wherever knowing that he could literally beat anyone in the city — almost anyone that we swam against — so that helps a lot.”
Dusek swam two relays at state, helping the Raiders take 11th in the 200 medley.
Dusek, who aspires to swim collegiately, said he hopes to place top-four at state next year as a senior.