LLHS’s Candelaria qualifies for state in 100 backstroke

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The trip to Santa Fe this past weekend was definitely worth it — at least for one Los Lunas High swimmer.

News-Bulletin file photo: Los Lunas swimmer Marissa Candelaria, shown here in a meet earlier this season, qualified for the state swim meet this Saturday at the Griffin Invite in Santa Fe. She posted a time of 1 minute, 6.51 seconds, qualifying in the 100-yard backstroke by 0.48 seconds. The Valencia and Los Lunas swim teams will be back in Santa Fe this Saturday for the Capital City Invite.

Marissa Candelaria qualified for the state swim meet at the Griffin Invite at the Genoveva Chavez Community Center pool in Santa Fe. She posted a time of 1:06.51 in the 100-yard breaststroke at the Santa Fe Prep meet. The state qualifying time is 1:06.99. It’s the fourth year in a row the junior has qualified for state in the event.

She was the second Los Lunas swimmer to qualify for state, joining Ryan Lupi who punched his ticket to state in the 100-yard breaststroke earlier in the season.

“We were very happy,” said coach Lin Onsae of Candelaria’s qualifying swim. “She just kept adding to her time. She is a very hard worker. It was a good meet for us, even though we had to scratch two relays because we had girls out with illness.”

The Tigers did not compete in the 100-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relays. Their time in the 200-yard freestyle was not available because official times and statistics had not yet been released by News-Bulletin press time.

Lupi did come within a couple of seconds of qualifying for his second event at state, according to Onsae. He finished third in the 200-yard individual medley.

“He is getting closer with every meet,” said Onsae. Lupi also won the 100-meter breaststroke at Saturday’s meet.

St. Pius won the boys team title, followed by Alamogordo, St. Michaels and host Santa Fe Prep. Los Lunas and Valencia’s exact team scores were not available at press time. Alamogordo won the girls title.

Both the Valencia and Los Lunas swim teams will return to the Genoveva Chavez Center pool in Santa Fe on Saturday for the Capital City Invitational. The district championships, which are the last chance at state qualifying, will be held Saturday, Feb. 11.

The state meet is scheduled for Feb. 17-18. Both district and state meets will be held at Albuquerque Academy.


-- Email the author at mstearns@news-bulletin.com.