Socorro Stingrays show promise

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The Socorro Stingrays took on the Belen Hurricanes and the Jewish Community Center Orcas in Socorro on June 23 and fared well.

The 11- and 12-year-old girls’ freestyle and medley relays had the fastest times the coach, Jordan Vinson, has seen.

Photos by Susann Mikkelson/El Defensor Chieftain: Desarae Smith prepares for her event in the swim meet that the Stingrays hosted on June 22.

“They have a very good shot at a gold medal at state this year,” Vinson said. “We have a lot of girls going very fast and the relay changes every week with who happens to be the fastest that week.”

On Saturday, it was Miquilla Barela in the backstroke, Olivia Beames in the breaststroke, Danielle Moore in the butterfly and Paige Pyke in the freestyle. Alana Chavez, along with Pyke, Beames and Moore as anchor, took first place in the A relay, beating the other teams by half a pool length. The B relay team took second, with Desarae Smith on backstroke, Sophia Beames in breaststroke, Kayla Botko in butterfly and Alana Chavez in freestyle.

Olivia Beams also took first place in both the 50-meter breaststroke and the 200-meter individual medley. Moore took first in the butterfly, Barela took first in the 50-meter backstroke, and Pyke came in first in the 50-meter freestyle.

Skyler Bunning and Mathew Chavez were state qualifiers last year in the 9- and 10-year-old age group, and have only improved this year, according to Vinson. Chavez specializes in the butterfly and Bunning in the freestyle. The girls relay team in this age group, with Carola Olivares, Savannah Chewiwi, Marissa Romero and Serena Van Landingham, took first place on Saturday.

Emma Montoya competed in the 200-meter individual medley for the 8 years and younger age group, a tough task for this age group, and finished first.

Stingray Riley Morris dives in on Saturday during the swim meet in Socorro.

“Both medley and free relays have shown tons of progress since the beginning of the season (in the 8 and younger age group),” Vinson said.

Tyler Crespin and Mathew Lucero won all of their events in the 13 and up age group, and Katrine Hareland, the relay anchor, is showing great improvement.

“Katrine has a great work ethic and has become a leader in practice.” Vinson said.

This coming weekend, the swimmers in the 8 years old and younger group will compete at Tanoan Country Club in Albuquerque, for the championships. All other swimmers will compete at the New Mexico Games on Sunday, for a chance to qualify for the State Games of America held in Hershey, Pa. in August.