FOR THE RECORD: This story initially incorrectly reported that Eldorado had four first-place performances en route to the boys and girls team championships. In fact they had five. Sophomore Lauren Martinez won the 1-meter diving championship. Her twin sister, Meaghan, came in second. Lauren is also a defending champion pole vaulter.
Eldorado wins four 1sts, but 2 team titles
A blur of orange ruled the pool Saturday afternoon at the state swimming and diving championships at Albuquerque Academy.
Eldorado claimed both the boys and girls titles, an impressive feat considering the Eagles captured only two individual titles and two relay swim titles. Sophomore Lauren Martinez also won the 1-meter diving championship. Her twin sister, Meaghan, came in second.
“They’ve just been battling all year,” coach Quint Seckler said. “They came together at the end right when they needed to.”
Eldorado finished with 324 points on the girls side to easily top Academy (260) and Las Cruces (200) in the all-classifications competition. It was much closer on the boys side, with the Eagles (265) barely topping La Cueva (262) and Rio Rancho (252).
“The guys dug down deep today and got after it,” Seckler said. “So it was fun, it’s pretty special to get two (titles).”
Eldorado senior Ian Roberson sprinted to the title in the 50-yard freestyle in 21.56 seconds, just ahead of Hobbs sophomore Cory Dean (21.67) and fellow Eagle Angus Gullick (22:01).
“I focused on my start, and once I got off to a good start in the 50, if you have a good turn, you’ll be pretty well off,” Roberson said.
In one of the closest finishes of the day, Eldorado junior Kyra Mohns edged out Sandia senior Hannah Veseth in the 100 breaststroke. Mohns barely topped Veseth, 1:08.53 to 1:08.58.
“I saw her ahead of me the whole race, so I didn’t think I’d catch her,” Mohns said. “But I did and it feels amazing.”
The Eldorado boys’ 200 free relay team won in 1:27.61, and the Eagle girls captured the 400 free relay in 3:36.36.
While Eldorado earned the team spotlight, Academy’s Anika Apostalon was the individual star of the day.
The senior broke her state records in the 100 free – 49.41 this year, 50.40 last year – and the 100 backstroke – 53.78 this year, 54.24 last year.
“I just wanted to see how low I could go,” Apostalon said. “It’s a little more special (as a senior).”
The other double winner on the girls side was La Cueva junior Nika Fellows, who won the 500 free (4:56.21) and broke her record in the 200 free, finishing in 1:49.73 to best the 1:51.1 she set at last year’s state meet.
“It feels great. It was definitely one of my best (races),” Fellows said. “I definitely knew I needed to bring it home.”
The most dramatic finish of the day was fashioned by Volcano Vista senior Olivia Morrell in the 50 free as she barely edged Academy sophomore Gillian St. John, 23.63 to 23.64.
“I think that just like any other 50, it was going to be close,” Morrell said. “Gillian’s a great competitor, so it was a really good race.”
St. Pius junior Lauren Adkins claimed the 200 individual medley in 2:04.13, while Albuquerque High sophomore Cassaundra Pino took the 100 fly in 57.62.
Two of the La Cueva boys were double winners. Senior Kristopher Tillery took the 100 back (51.01) and the 200 free (1:41.99).
“The first half went great, but the third 50 the fatigue kind of set on,” Tillery said of the 200 free. “I just said I have to push through this, and I did.”
Bears junior Stephen Klein won the 100 free (47.06) and set a pool record in the 200 IM (1:53.49).
“I just wanted to go for it, see how fast I could go,” Klein said.
Academy freshman Anthony Kim successfully defended his title in the 100 fly (50.85), while Rio Rancho sophomore Luis Felipe Conejo outlasted the competition in the 500 free (4:51.7) and Cibola junior Edgar Melchor prevailed in a close race for the 100 breast in 59.15, just ahead of Rio Rancho’s Nick Balmer (59.28).
In the relays, La Cueva’s boys 400 free squad set a state record in 3:09.89, easily beating the mark of 3:12.44 set by Academy in 2009.
— This article appeared on page D4 of the Albuquerque Journal