Stingrays make big waves at district meet
The Socorro Stingrays swam their way into the Sundance Finals Thursday and will now compete at the West Mesa Aquatic Center in Albuquerque on Saturday, July 23.
More than 100 Stingrays competed against three other teams at the district meet held at the Rio Rancho Rainbow Pool. The Socorro Swim Club, Los Lunas Swim Club, TNT and the Dolphins of Albuquerque, all in District C, were vying for the top three spots to guarantee a shot at the state meet.
"We did fantastic," Coach Diedra Vinson said in a phone interview. "This is the largest amount of entries that we've ever had on the individual side."
Of the 105 Stingrays who competed in the district meet, 49 qualified in individual events and will participate in the state meet today (Saturday, July 23.) This does not include the 10 relay events, Vinson said, which brings the number of competitors from Socorro County to 59.
"I am psyched," the coach said. "They worked so hard."
And, Vinson added, it's not everyday teenagers will get up and head to the pool for practice at 6:30 a.m. during the summer months. She said the parents are also to be credited for putting in a tremendous amount of time to see that the younger children get to practices.
"It's tough," Vinson said. "Teenagers can get themselves to the pool, but the younger ones — it's the parents. I'm so appreciative they allow their kids to do this because it's a lot."
Vinson said she thought last year was a breakout year for her more than 100 swimmers who commit so much time to practice, but this year's events have been more than a pleasant surprise.
"Holy cow, I am so proud of these kids," Vinson said. "It was a good day. I'm humbled actually — their commitment for their summer paid off."
At the district meet, the top three swimmers in each event automatically qualify for the state meet. The swimmers with the next four fastest times in each event get a "wild card slot" and advance as well.
Stingrays who automatically qualified for the 25- and -50 meter freestyle are:
Alana Chavez, who took third place in the 25 and Tyler Crespin who took third place in the 50-meter freestyle. Matthew Chavez placed first in the 50 freestyle and Skyler Bunning took second. DamiAna Contreras swam to a second place finish in the 100-meter freestyle competition while John Woods brought home a third.
Two first place slots in the 50-meter freestyle were won by Angelina Stanzione and John Woods. DamiAna Contreras placed second.
For the individual medley competition, Olivia Beames and Matthew Lucero placed second, followed closely by Danielle Moore and JeriAna Contreras who finished third.
Four swimmers will be competing in the backstroke after Skyler Bunning and JeriAna Contreras placed second, and Aiden McComas and Tyler Crespin took third.
Stingrays dominated the breaststroke competition, capturing nine slots for the state meet. Danielle Moore placed first in the 25 meter, while Charli Gonzales and John Woods, who swam the 100 meter also took home first place wins.
Two swimmers, Marissa Romero and Olivia Beames placed second in the 25 meter breaststroke followed by Jeremy DiBartolomeo who placed third. In the 100 meter, Matthew Lucero and Angelina Stanzione placed second and Hans Hofner placed third.
Two first, one second and two third place finishes were garnered in the Butterfly category with Aiden McComas and Avery Ngo taking first place slots. Skyler McComas placed second and Danielle Moore and Angelina Stanzione placed third.
"Stingrays rule," Vinson said, laughing.
More than a dozen other Stingrays will also compete at the state meet after their swim times were good enough to capture a wild card slot.
Vinson is in her 12th season as a swim coach.
Contact Jackie Schlotfeldt