The Taos High Swim Team competed in the Griffen Invitational in Santa Fe Friday (Jan. 25).
With 17 boys teams and 18 girls teams, the Genoveva Chavez Community Center was swarming with athletes in swimsuits and fleece-lined swim parkas, as well as coaches and parents in spirit attire. The Taos boys left the meet with enough points for seventh place and the girls took eighth. Los Alamos, St. Pius X and Hope Christian took the top three spots, in that order, for both boys and girls.
"Taos doesn't exactly have a swimming culture," said head coach Nancy Call, "but we're working to change that." The continued strong performances of the swimmers will probably help.
The Tigers have had a season of continually improving times and this meet was no exception. Team members Karen Rodriguez, Veronica Montoya, Alyssa Murray, Uriel Chavez, Max Meadowcraft and Jordan Montoya achieved personal best times with their swims.
Freshman Grace Goler qualified for state yet again, winning the 100 Yard Freestyle race with a time of 56.45 seconds. Not only did she qualify herself but she helped to bring along Haven Casillas of Belen High School, who also beat the state qualifying time of 58.59 with a 57.69 second race. After seeing their times on the scoreboard, the athletes shared a high five.
Goler's 25.90 second third-place swim in the 50 Freestyle also came in under the qualifying time of 26.19 seconds. Together with her previous qualification in the 100 Butterfly, Goler has qualified in three events.
Ashley McMains had an excellent meet, placing second in the 100 Backstroke with a time of 1:05.34, just 1.05 seconds off the state qualifying time. In the 100 Butterfly McMains took sixth in 1:07.74.
Goler, McMains, Maye Montoya and Aricela Chavez together took third in 200 Yard Medley Relay with a time of 2:06.23 - just .64 seconds away from the state qualifying time of 2:05.59 and a full 4 seconds better than their next-best time this season.
The boys' team was also full of strong performances. The 200 Freestyle Relay of Diego Griego, Lorenzo Cordova, Estevan Salazar and Hunter Griego of 1:41.25 was enough for fifth place and a mere 1.36 seconds from the state qualifying time of 1:39.89. The same four boys swam a best-time performance of 1:54.74 in the 200 Medley Relay, getting themselves sixth place. Hunter Griego continues to drop time. Friday he finished fourth in the 200 Individual Medley with a time of 2:23.51 and sixth in the 100 Butterfly with a 1:02.11. Swimming side by side in adjacent lanes, Salazar and Diego Griego placed fourth and sixth, respectively, in the 100 Freestyle. In his first time entering the event, Cordova earned the sixth spot in the 100 Backstroke.
The Tiger swimmers continue their quest for state qualifying and personal best times Saturday (Feb. 2) at the Capital City Invitational in Santa Fe. The meet begins at 10 a.m.