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Cibola Unified Swimming and Diving team takes home two state titles

CHS unified swim state champion relay team Cibola High School’s Unified Swimming and Diving team won two state championships on Thursday, Nov. 7 as part of the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s Swimming and Diving Championships at Kino Aquatic Center in Mesa.

The Cibola boys relay team of Elijah Butler, Marlo Silva, Charles Echandia-Davis, and Anthony Neerpat took home the 200m freestyle relay title and the 200m medley relay title. The Cibola unified girls relay team earned fourth place in both relay events on Thursday. It is the first time Cibola’s Unified team has competed at the state level.

“We were pleased when we were told that we qualified to attend the state competition,” CHS Unified Sports Coaches Dana Phipps-Arnett and Sara VanCamp said in a joint statement. “The boys swam their best times and placed first in both relays. Their sportsmanship showed the best of Cibola Raider pride. We are extremely proud of our unified athletes and their relay partners. We look forward to growing the program next year at Cibola and in Yuma Union High School District. Thanks to the Cibola swim and dive team, Coach [Brad] Broschat and Coach Teresa [McCallen] for welcoming us into their family.”

Unified Sports is a joint effort between the AIA and Special Olympics Arizona (SOAZ) to incorporate Unified programs in AIA member schools recognizing and offering opportunities for SOAZ unified athletes and partners to compete in AIA sanctioned athletics and activities. The inclusive sports program unites Special Olympics athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities) and partners (individuals without intellectual disabilities) as teammates for training and competition.

YUHSD held its first Unified track meet in 2018-19, and has a growing number of Unified Sports participants at all five comprehensive campuses.

Eric Patten