Swimmers shine at their third meet

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There are plenty of beginners on this year’s Los Lunas and Valencia swim teams.

Jason W. Brooks-News-Bulletin photo: Los Lunas freshman Josetta De La Torre competes in a relay event in Saturday’s Manzano Invite. The Los Lunas and Valencia swimmers are set to return to West Mesa for the Rio Grande Invite, which is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

Fortunately, the swimmers who have been in their high school program are starting to make some progress — and they’re getting some contributions from first-year Tigers and Jaguars, too.

The Los Lunas girls tied with host Manzano for fourth among eight teams in Saturday’s Manzano Invite at the West Mesa Aquatic Center, while the LLHS boys placed fifth. Each Tiger squad outscored two large Albuquerque schools.

The Valencia girls scored 16 points and placed seventh. Both the VHS and Los Lunas teams are set to return to the West Mesa Aquatic Center for their final meet of December, the Rio Grande Invite, set for 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

At the Manzano Invite, the coach of the host team is new, and there seemed to be several snags with entries. Official results were not available at press time, but the Manzano coaching staff released unofficial results that showed impressive performances by Valencia County swimmers.

Los Lunas senior Marissa Candelaria nearly became the county’s first state qualifier of the season. Candelaria, who qualified in the 100 backstroke in all four of her previous seasons as a Tiger, placed second in the backstroke at Saturday’s meet with a time of 1 minute, 6.8 seconds — less than one-half of a second away from qualifying.

The Los Lunas girls medley relay team of Candelaria, MaKenzie Smith, Josetta De La Torre and Faron Gomez placed fourth.

Candelaria’s sister, Miranda, a freshman, placed sixth in the individual medley.

Gomez was fourth in the 500 freestyle and fifth in the 200 freestyle. De La Torre placed fifth in the 100 butterfly.

The 400 freestyle relay team of DeLaTorre, Shannae Williams, Gomez and Marissa Candelaria was third.

For the Valencia girls, Jensen Hatch was seventh in the 200 freestyle, and Adelene Armenta placed sixth in the 100 butterfly.

Hatch and Armenta combined with Isabel Baca and Morgan Cook in the 400 freestyle relay, where the Lady Jaguars placed sixth.

For the Tiger boys, the medley relay team of Corey Shannon, Dante Risso, Jonathan Gamez and Orion Zuni was sixth. Gamez was fifth in the 200 freestyle, and eighth-grader Tommy Browning placed sixth in the 500 freestyle.

Jonah King became the first male swimmer to compete for Valencia High in recent memory. He competed in two events.

After this Saturday’s meet, the Los Lunas and Valencia teams will be idle until a Saturday, Jan. 12 meet at West Mesa, hosted by Sandia.


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