Another chance for Santa Fe High senior Cheyenne Garcia in her best event, the 100-yard breaststroke, in upcoming state championships
In last year's final, she finished third in a record-breaking race won by returning Lauren Burckel of Albuquerque Eldorado
By ARNIE LESHIN
Not only did Santa Fe High senior Cheyenne Garcia get to stand on the podium at last year's state swimming-diving championships, but in finishing third, it was even more impressive to place that well in a record-breaking 100-yard breaststroke.
Now she gets another try in her favorite event, except that she again lines up against junior Lauren Burckel of Albuquerque Eldorado, who broke the pool and state record in the time of 1:03.25. Also back is sophomore runner-up Anita Sumali of Albuquerque La Cueva who clocked 1:04.92.
And just a few strokes behind was Garcia, who had also qualified for three other events, in 1:07.53, just ahead of Eldorado graduate Kelsey Robinson, who touched in 1:07.54.
"She's been swimming well," said long-time head coach Theresa Hamilton, she had a better time in the districts (1:08.89) than last year, works hard in practice, and will give it her best."
As the weekend winds up the splash season at the Albuquerque Academy Natatorium nears, Burckel checks in with the best qualifying time of 1:04.12 and second-best is Sumali in 1:04.97. There's also junior Emma Martinez of Albuquerque West Mesa (1:06.33) and sophomore Grace Gehlert of Eldorado (1:08.61) to contend with.
Garcia, who has also qualified again in the 200 individual medley, is one of six girls who qualified from the Santa Fe area, with St. Michael's seniors Alexis Gallegos and Amaia Bracamontes again returning to the 1-meter drive.
Gallegos stands 12th and Bracamontes 16th in the field. Gallegos' best score is 303.70 and Bracamontes 2:58.20. But in alphabetical order, Bracamontes dives first and Gallegos sixth.
Then there's Lady Horseman junior Jacqueline Hay in the 100 backstroke, with a best time of 1:05.09. The fastest qualifying time of 0:58.43 comes from freshman Fiona Trotz-Chavez of Sandia.
From Santa Fe Prep, there's sophomore Arielle Nathan in the individual medley after qualifying in 2:25.00. Here, Burckel has the fastest qualifying time of 2:09.79.
And Santa Fe High also has sophomore Arrika Duran in the grueling 500 freestyle in a qualifying time of 5:52.24. Senior Emily Shoup of Eldorado has the top qualifying time of 5:17.36 .
As for Garcia in the IM, she qualified in 2:23.43 and will again go against Burckel. But Garcia did not score in that event, and her best chance to again land on the podium is no doubt the breaststroke.
The state meet starts Friday and winds up Saturday. It begins Friday with the diving warm-ups from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. The semifinals in this event is 8:30, with the finals Saturday at 11:30. The first swimming event is the 200 medley relay, with the preliminaries at 3 p.m.
It is the only state championship where it's everybody into the pool no matter whether you are 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A or 6A. It's all one big show.