From the sidelines


I’ve been remiss in my responsibilities as far as Valencia County youth swimming goes. But I hope to remedy that this weekend.

In case you didn’t know, youth from the Belen Hurricanes and Los Lunas Stingrays of Albuquerque’s Sundance Aquatic Association are participating in the league’s district meet at 8 a.m. today at the Belen High School Pool.

Then on Saturday at 8 a.m. the overall championship meet for the SAA’s Summertime Recreational Swim League, which features swimmers age 4 through 18, will take place at the West Mesa Aqautic Center in Albuquerque.

But many of the youth swimmers from the Hurricanes and Stingrays — as well as a few adult swimmers from the county — already won championships at state level earlier this summer.

Los Lunas /Valencia High School swim coach Lin Onsae brought together swimmers from the Stingrays and Hurricanes as well as the locally-based Onsae-coached Tidal Wave club team to form the Valencia County Super Swimmers, which participated in last month’s New Mexico games competition.

That VCSS team took first place overall at the New Mexico Games’ swim meet on June 30 at the West Mesa Aquatics Center.

Nineteen swimmers from the team took first place in individual events, while all six VCSS relay teams placed with five taking the top spot.

Among the top individual multiple finishers were Shaylee Silva, 9, who took home four gold medals — three individual one team; William Kessler, 21, who won two individual gold medals to go with two team golds and a bronze.

The Browning brothers, Chesten, 12, and Tommy, 14, also were among the best, placing first in four and three individual races respectively as well as Felix Candelaria, who managed four gold medals and one bronze.

Other top multiple medalists included Christopher Gamez, 19, who took home two individual golds and team silver, Kiley McCleary, 13, who has a team gold as well as individual first-, second- and third-place finishes.

Tony Onsae, 12, also scored a team gold, two individual silvers and one gold as did Megan Waghorn, 10, who earned individual gold and silver as well as her team silver

MaKenzie Wilson, 10, earned one individual gold, one silver and one an individual bronze; and Caleb Garmand, 14, took home two individual first-place finishes.

In team events, the team of Silva, Kessler, Tommy and Chesten Browning, Onsae, McCleary, MaKenzie Wilson, 10, and Kaitlin Jaramillo, 22, took first in the mixed 99 and under 8×50-yard medley relay with a time of 4:26.36 while the team of Candelaria, 8, Christopher Aragon, 10, Jessica Murray, 12, and Isabel Baca, 13, earned the title in the mixed 14 and under 200-yard medley relay.

Also on the top of the podium was the team of Zachary Jaramillo, 13, Marissa Candelaria, 18, Roman Prevot, 17, Kaitlin Jaramillo, 22, which won the mixed 13 and over 200-yard medley relay with a time of 2:03.55 and the team of Felix Candelaria, Christopher Aragon, 10, Cloe Baldonado, 12, and Davanne Hensen, 13, won the mixed 14 and under 200-yard freestyle relay.

The final top finisher of the medleys was the team of Kessler, McCleary, Jonathan Gamez, 16, and Mackenzie Smith, 14, which won in the mixed 13 and over-100-yard freestyle relay.

And finally, the team of Waghorn, Jayden Lechuga, 9, Maya Montano, 12, Chiara Pesina, 12, Shanae Williams, 14, Kassidy Young, 14, Jerry Smith, 37, and Christopher Gamez, 19, took second in the mixed 99 and under 8×50-yard freestyle relay.

Other first place finishers for the Valencia County Super Swimmers included Smith, who won in the Mens 35-39 100-yard freestyle; Jarel Gamez, 28, in the Mens 25-29 year-old 50-yard backstroke; Jarel Garcia, 28, who earned gold in the Mens 25-29 100-yard intermediate; Faron Gomez, 16 in the Womens 15-18 100-yard freestyle; and Robbie Zanotti, 9, in the Boys 9-10 25-yard backstroke.

Also of note were performance by Kaitlin Jaramillo, who two gold medals in team relay and three silver medals in individual competition as well as Shanae Williams, 14, and Damien Wilson, 8. Both managed a silver and bronze individual finish as well as one fourth place finish

For a complete list of finishers, events and times, please go to our website,