Socorro Stingrays summer swim team is definitely growing stronger
Socorro Stingrays head coach Diedra Vinson wasn’t joking when she said she wanted her swim program to grow to Olympic-sized proportions. A full-time facility with Olympic trials might sound like more than lofty expectations for a club team from Socorro; that is, until you actually meet Vinson. “Now, I think our program has reached a level of maturity. We’re actually competing with the big dogs,” she said, referring to some of the larger programs from Albuquerque and around the state.
“We’ve got a lot of talent and great attitudes.”
The Stingrays aren’t really considered a “small” team this year though, as the club boasts 130 swimmers, and according to Vinson, some of them could even meet the demands necessary of the full-time, Olympic-trial caliber athlete.
“We’ve got kids that could do it,” she said.
Regardless of whether or not the Stingrays achieve status as a full-time program, Vinson has already accomplished quite a bit in the seven years she’s been the head coach. While the club has been around for a few decades now, when she took over numbers were low, especially compared to what they are today.
“It grows and wanes like any other program,” she said.
The team is definitely in the “growth” phase right now, and it’s no accident that the program has seen discernible improvement from year to year. When kids enter the program, they seem to stay in the program.
“I’ve had some of these kids since they were 10,” Vinson said. “I know them. I know their swim. I know what they’re doing, what they need to correct and if they’re going to do it or not.”
Vinson can’t do it all on her own of course, so she keeps a diverse mix of assistant coaches on staff. A couple are Socorro High School students and a few attend various colleges, but all of them are key contributors in developing swimmers individually.
“This year, our coaches are on point,” Vinson said. “The kids are better technically, and we’re doing a lot more yardage this year.”
Whether working on dives or working on turns, the Stingrays are busy every day trying to improve. Vinson has also taken to filming her swimmers when they dive so they can see for themselves what needs to be corrected. So far her methods seem to be paying off.
“One thing that we’ve really improved on this year is our dives and starts,” she said. “Of course, I don’t care how good you are you can always get better.”
Vinson and her squad should have a good idea of how much their hard work is paying off after this weekend. After fairing extremely well in their first two meets against Midtown and Riverpoint in Albuquerque, the Rays will be tested today when they travel back to the Duke City to take on Tanoan.
“Tanoan is one of the top teams in Albuquerque. We’ve swam against them before and we do real well against them.” Vinson said.
The Stingrays will also be in action next Saturday in Socorro when they host their first meet of the season at Socorro Pool. The meet will begin at 9 a.m.