The host Albuquerque Academy girls swimming team ended a four-year drought without a state championship as the Chargers claimed the blue trophy on Saturday afternoon.
Academy finished with 368 points to hold off defending champion La Cueva (317).
It was a clean sweep for the Chargers as the boys team claimed their third title in a row with 325.5 points to cruise past La Cueva (256) and Eldorado (243).
The Charger girls’ defining event was the 200-yard freestyle relay, in which they set a state record in 1 minute, 36.58 seconds.
“That was really good. I don’t even believe it yet,” junior Sara Vianco said. “We just swam fast. I can’t explain it.”
Vianco also claimed the Chargers’ lone individual victory in a swimming event, winning the 100 freestyle (51.06 seconds). Academy junior Lillie Guo took the diving crown with a score of 458.15.
Eldorado junior Lauren Burckel claimed two events, including a state record with a time of 1:02.01 in the 100 backstroke. It broke her own mark of 1:03.25 set last year.
“I mean, there are expectations, but I just wanted to go out there and have fun,” said Burckel, who also won the 200 individual medley (2:05.05).
Volcano Vista senior Zofia Niemczak was unable to defend her title in the 200 IM, but she was able to repeat as champion in the 100 butterfly (57.28).
“This year I was just super-relaxed,” Niemczak said.
Another defending champion, La Cueva sophomore Natalie Jones, repeated in the 50 free (23.26), barely edging out Vianco (23.31).
“Oh my gosh, that was so close,” Jones said. “We just did so good today. I’m so proud of Sara.”
Another Bears sophomore, Chrysten Pacheco, won the 200 free (1:51.94).
Sandia freshman Fiona Trotz-Chavez made her first state meet a memorable one with a victory in the 100 backstroke (57.63).
Hope Christian senior Madison Gordley went out on a high note by winning the 500 free (5:02.13).
As for the other relays, La Cueva won the 200 medley (1:46.44) to defend its state title, followed by the Bears’ victory in the 400 free (3:31.92).
Academy’s boys title was even more impressive considering they did not win a single individual or relay event.
Instead, the individual stars of the day were Cibola junior Joshua Harlan and Sandia senior Lee Moffett.
Harlan won the 200 IM (1:51.24), breaking the state record of 1:51.42 set by Kirk Hampleman back in 1997. Harlan would later take the 100 backstroke (50.83).
“It’s just a really great moment, probably the best moment I’ve had in swimming,” Harlan said of the record.
Moffett claimed the 200 free (1:42.13) and later added the 500 free (4:36.24).
“Honestly, I think my relay team pumping me up helped,” Moffett said.
The Matadors took flight in the relays, capturing the 200 free (1:27.96) just barely over the Chargers (1:28.10), and then finishing the day by claiming the 400 free (3:12.10).
Sandia sophomore Joseph Cecco took some inspiration from Moffett and won the 100 free (47.15).
“It did fire me up; it gave me a good mindset going into this race,” Cecco said.
Eldorado started the day with a win in the 200 medley relay (1:35.80). Eagle junior Ben Waterman, who swam the decisive leg of the relay, also netted the 100 fly (49.43).
“The relay means more,” Waterman said. “This is just a lot of fun.”
Albuquerque High sophomore Pierce Holler won the 100 breaststroke (57.22).
“I kind of wanted to get the record, but I’ve got another year or two,” Holler said.
Farmington’s Christopher Grossheim was the lone winner from outside the Albuquerque metro area, claiming the 50 free (20.94).
“It means everything. All the hard work (paid off),” he said.
Eldorado’s Isaac Newman won the diving crown (535 points).