School sports

One individual medal for Taos Tigers swimmers at state

By Sheila Miller
sports@taosnews.com
Posted 2/27/19

The Taos Tigers Swim Team had their best showing at the state competition in recent memory.The Tigers sent nine swimmers and an alternate to the 2019 New Mexico …

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School sports

One individual medal for Taos Tigers swimmers at state

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The Taos Tigers Swim Team had their best showing at the state competition in recent memory.

The Tigers sent nine swimmers and an alternate to the 2019 New Mexico State Swimming and Diving Championship meet at Albuquerque Academy Natatorium in Albuquerque on Feb. 22-23. For the state swimming championship, athletes of every class compete in the same pool for the same medals, giving smaller schools the opportunity to challenge swimmers from larger schools.

The preliminary events on Friday (Feb. 22) determined the top 16 athletes in the state in each event. The fastest eight enter the finals, and those placing ninth to 16th race in the B finals. The next two places are alternates in case of a disqualification during or before the finals. Only racers and relay teams finishing in the top 16 (the finals or B finals) earn team points.

Taos swimmers competed in nine events on Friday (Feb. 22). Freshman Grace Goler qualified for the finals heat of the 50-yard Freestyle, swimming a 24.99 second race, the seventh-fastest time on Feb. 22. She swam to an eighth-place finish in the final on Saturday (Feb. 23), taking home a medal. Goler also earned a spot in B final of the 100-yard Butterfly in which she finished 10th, moving up a spot from the day before and smashing "her personal best in this swim by .65 seconds with a 1:01.66," said head coach Nancy Call.

Senior Ashley McMains dropped time in the 100 Backstroke and qualified for the B final in 12th place. Coach Call said, "In the final swim she stepped up and dropped .63 seconds with a time of 1:02.65 and held" the 12th place she earned in the prelims.

Both Goler and McMains also swam on the 200-yard Medley relay and the 400-yard Freestyle relays. The 400-yard Freestyle relay qualified for the B final in the 13th spot, and they held their place on Saturday. Together, the relay team dropped 2.28 seconds from their district meet time with a 4:04.44 in the prelims.

The Tiger girls earned 31 team points, enough for a 15th-place overall team finish. Coach Call noted that, "All the the girls - Aricela Chavez, Goler, McMains and Maye Montoya - swam to personal and season best times in the meet."

"I am really proud of the kids," she added, "as this was a very fast swim meet and sometimes nerves get in the way of performing best times."

"They raced hard and never gave up. Their success and improvement since the season began is something they can be proud of and take with them forever."

The Tiger boys swam to season's best times in both the 200 Freestyle relay, composed of Diego Griego, Lorenzo Cordova, Hunter Griego and Estevan Salazar, and the 400 Freestyle relay, of which Uriel Chavez was a member but Cordova was not, but their times weren't quite fast enough for the top 16. Placing 17th and 18th, respectively they were alternates for the finals. Diego Griego swam the individual 50 Freestyle and Hunter Griego the 200 Individual Medley. Both were alternates for Saturday's finals.

The Tigers were also able to watch New Mexico history in the making. Jack Hoagland of La Cueva missed the state record in the 200-yard Individual Medley, 1:48.04, set by Joshua Harlan in 2018, by about a second in the preliminary race with a 1:49.03 - itself already so fast as to merit automatic nomination to All-American.

When asked about the record, Hoagland said, "I'm going to get it tomorrow. Watch."

He did. With a time of 1:48.01, Hoagland put himself in the record book.

The Tigers are a relatively young team. They will lose Hunter Griego and McMains to graduation, and, with the exception of Diego Griego, who will return as a senior next year, the majority of the remaining swimmers are currently freshman or eighth-graders.

"The future is bright for next school year's Tiger Swimmers," Call said.

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