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Here’s a riddle: What is sopping wet and dry as a bone at the same time?

Give up?

Answer: Maria Carrillo senior Piper Brockley.

Brockley is the reigning All-Empire Swimmer of the Year. She’s also a self-described crier.

“I’m a pretty emotional person,” she said. “It’s always kind of a joke, if I get above a seven or below a three, I start crying.”

So there is Brockley, sopping wet from the race of her life, having PR’d her premier event, the 100-meter breast stroke, to earn a spot at the Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb., in June and she’s not shedding a tear.

“It was almost disappointing. Like, really? I couldn’t get anything out this once?” she said.

Maybe it was enormity of the situation.

“It’s such a tough thing to get into,” Maria Carrillo swim coach Rick Niles said. “When you have done that you have really made it in the world of swimming.”

It speaks volumes about the quality of area swim programs that among Brockley’s breast stroke competitors in Omaha at the Trials will be Petaluma High grad and USC freshman Riley Scott, and University of Tennessee alum and Santa Rosa High grad Molly Hannis. Maria Carrillo and Stanford grad Maya DiRado will also be there. DiRado and Hannis swam with the Neptune Swimming club, for which Brockley still competes.

“Molly used to help me with my breaststroke when I was younger and I was just star-struck by them,” Brockley said of Hannis and DiRado.

Which made it all the sweeter that both Hannis and DiRado were at the same meet in Florida that Brockley made the time cut for Omaha.

“It shows what a strong program Neptunes are,” she said. “To see that they are still thinking about us as a club and supportive was so cool.”

Brockley has similar affection for her Pumas squad. She gets to practice with the Maria Carrillo squad only once a week because of her club schedule, but Niles said she makes the most of it.

“She’s a really hard worker, an amazing competitor,” he said.

Brockley and many of Carrillo’s other elite swimmers spend Friday practices working on relay timing and starts, but also working with more inexperienced members of the team.

“She’s really good at it,” Niles said. “I think that is one reason that our team has been good in the past and continues to be.”

Maria Carrillo’s boys and girls have won the North Bay League every year of Brockley’s high school career.

“High school swimming is so different from club swimming,” she said. “It’s a completely different atmosphere.”

“It’s fun to see kids who are out there just because they love swimming,” she said.

And Brockley counts herself among them.

“I’m a huge fan of Maria Carrillo High School. I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to go to high school there,” she said. “Representing my school is so fun for me.”

So having to stand on the deck instead of being in the water in a dual meet with rival Santa Rosa High on Friday afternoon was not easy. Brockley has been dealing with a tweaked knee after coming off the blocks awkwardly at Neptunes practice.

“I’m pretty bummed,” she said of missing the meet. “I fell off the block kind of funny at practice. It’s not really a big deal, just sore and bruised.”

But the season is far from over.

Her senior year will be an admittedly strange swan song for the area’s top female prep swimmer. Last year the target was the ultra-competitive North Coast Section meet and then the first-ever CIF state meet.

“This year, my focus will be a little different, it being an Olympic year,” she said. “This year is kind of a funky year for everyone when it comes to that kind of stuff.”

Last year, Brockley finished second in the 200-yard individual medley and tied for third in the 100-yard breaststroke at NCS. At the state meet, she finished sixth in the IM, but called her results relatively disappointing.

“It was fine,” she said. “I wasn’t too happy with it. I was pretty beat up.”

Pulling off your fastest times three weekends in a row is no small feat. Add to Brockley’s to-do list training for the Trials in late June, and something may have to give.

Then again, the USC-bound Brockley has only one chance left to make a big splash in prep swimming and she might just jump right in.

You can reach staff columnist Kerry Benefield at 526-8671 or kerry.benefield@pressdemocrat.com, on Twitter @benefield and on Instagram at kerry.benefield. Podcasting on iTunes “Overtime with Kerry Benefield.”

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