Courtesy: Max Corliss
The 2019 Boys and Girls NMAA State Swimming and Diving Championships will be held Friday, February 22nd to Saturday, February 23rd at the Albuquerque Academy Natatorium.
Boys Meet Overview
Last year’s champions, Eldorado, are seeded 5th when the meet is scored out, and while La Cueva looks strong with a 28-point lead heading to the meet, there will be lots of competition among the other teams, with second through fourth places separated by a mere 12 points.
Here are the team scores for the meet if it was swam as in the psych sheets:
La Cueva – 293
Cibola – 265
Cleveland – 263
Albuquerque Academy – 253
Eldorado – 236
Los Alamos – 213
Sandia – 144
Albuquerque – 141
Las Cruces – 139
Clovis – 98
Volcano Vista -67
Los Lunas – 57
St. Pius X – 33
Rio Rancho – 28
Santa Fe Prep – 23
Farmington – 17
Santa Fe – 16
Sandia Prep – 14
Carlsbad – 9
Manzano – 4
Hope Christian – 4
Cottonwood Classical – 4
Hobbs – 2
A few disclaimers, however:
1. Diving qualifying is based on degree-of-difficulty, and there is no distinction between 11- and 6-dive competitions, so seeds are not necessarily the most accurate.
2. Because seed times are collected throughout the season, teams may not be able to replicate their relay performances; each swimmer is limited to two individual swims and two relays, while there are three relay events.
200 Medley Relay:
La Cueva (1:37.17) is the top seed by 1.1 seconds, with second going to Eldorado (1:38.27), who is closely followed by Cleveland (1:38.30). Interestingly, all three of these times were swam at the Albuquerque Metro Championships four weeks ago, which should lead to an interesting race.
Freshman Jamin Harlan of Cibola (1:44.14) is the top seed, closely followed by juniors Joseph Cecco of Sandia (1:44.52) and Mattia Seazzu of Albuquerque (1:44.81). All are buoyed by the fact that all of last year’s podium finishers, including state record-holder Jack Hoagland, now a senior, have graduated or are swimming other events. Cecco was 4th last year with a 1:42.61, while both Harlan’s and Cecco’s seed times are personal bests. Just like the 200 Medley relay, all three of the top seeds were swam at the Albuquerque Metro Championships.
One interesting note about the state meet is that the top two swimmers from each district meet (“district qualifiers”) can go to the meet, regardless of time. Usually they are unable to score, but because the 200 freestyle field is so small, Los Alamos sophomores Tavin Brogan (14th, 1:59.31) and Konstantin Nelson (15th, 1:59.88) will score in the 16-deep format despite being around 5 seconds off the standard (barring any scratches or disqualifications).
Hoagland of La Cueva (1:48.10) left the 200 Freestyle for this event, and he is the top seed by over 10 seconds. Hoagland is followed by freshman Orion Henderson of Los Alamos (1:58.53) and senior Evan Rand of Volcano Vista (1:58.93). Hoagland is likely shooting for the state record (1:38.07, Joshua Harlan, 2018). One other swimmer to watch is senior Pierce Holler of Albuquerque, who took 3rd in last year’s meet with a 1:53.33 and has a lifetime best of 1:51.65, but is only seeded at a 2:02.11 this year.
Senior Maxwell Hawton of Sandia (20.74) looks to defend his title, but he is closely followed by senior Keelan Hart of Cibola (20.95) and sophomore Darien O’Donnell of Eldorado (21.09). Again, each of these times was swam at the Albuquerque Metro Championships, so this should be a fun race.
1 Meter Diving:
As previously mentioned, seeds are not necessarily the be-all end-all for diving, but the top three are as follows: juniors Isaac Newman of Eldorado, Zach Corbett of Albuquerque Academy, and Dante Hernandez of Santa Fe. It should be noted that while Newman is the defending champion, Corbett was 6th and Hernandez 16th at last year’s meet, while last year’s runner-up junior Jake Gatten of Cleveland and third-place finisher Mosiah Seavey of Farmington are seeded 5th and 6th, respectively. Since there are only 15 competitors, each diver will score barring failed dives or scratches.
O’Donnell is the top seed with a 49.96 and a comfortable lead over juniors Cameron Pazand of Cleveland (52.46) and Jake Hand of Albuquerque Academy (53.55). O’Donnell was last year’s runner-up with a 50.82 behind then-senior Ben Waterman (48.64).
Hart (45.95) will look to defend his state title from last year, and he is followed by Seazzu (48.10) and Cecco (48.16). Cecco was 47.29 for second last year, while Seazzu went 48.49 for 6th, so there should be a good race for second place.
Hoagland (4:30.26) will look to defend his title and lower his state record of 4:28.19 set in last year’s prelims. Seeded second is junior Wyatt Smith of Eldorado (4:49.61) and third is sophomore Jackson Cotter of Cibola (4:56.20), all three of whom swam those times at the Albuquerque Metro meet. While Hoagland is the clear favorite, the field behind him is open – fourth to eighth place are separated by just over 4 seconds, and the second and third place finishers from last year’s meet have graduated.
200 Free Relay:
Cibola (1:28.59) has the top seed, followed by Eldorado (1:30.77) and Cleveland (1:30.78). Assuming each team delivers on its seed time, there should be a good race for second between those teams, La Cueva (1:31.17) and Albuquerque Academy (1:31.60). Interestingly, last year’s champions, Sandia (1:25.95) are seeded 8th with a 1:34.56 in this year’s competition.
Hawton (50.44) looks to defend his other title (the first being the 50 free) and is followed by Harlan (52.95) and another freshman, Mario Sumali of La Cueva (53.41). Rand, last year’s third place finisher (53.62), is seeded 4th this year (54.26).
Holler (57.45) looks to reclaim his title after winning the event his freshman and sophomore years – he lost to senior Joshua Harlan (Jamin’s brother), who set the state record in 56.29 last year. After this loss, Holler stormed off the awards stand/diving block, so it’s safe to say that this race is important to him. Challenging Holler is Hand (58.61), 3rd last year, and junior Kendall Southwell of Cleveland (59.42), 7th last year. Just like in the 200 IM, freshmen Leo Kim of St. Pius X, Ryan Ardalan of Albuquerque Academy, and sophomore Takuma Shiina of Los Alamos should score through their district qualification, though their times are much closer to the cut than Brogan and Nelson.
400 Free Relay:
In what should be a spectacular race to cap off the meet, both in closeness and importance for team points, Cleveland is seeded first (3:14.76), followed closely by Cibola (3:14.82) and La Cueva (3:15.36). Last year’s champions, Eldorado (3:09.39) are seeded 9th (3:30.43), while Cleveland looks to move up from last year’s 6th place finish and Cibola from their 13th place embaras… I mean, finish.
All in all, this should be an entertaining meet, and relatively fast for New Mexico as a state and the NMAA.
About the author:
Max Corliss is a sophomore who swims for Los Alamos High School and is seeded 8th in both the breaststroke and the IM, and is very excited for this meet. As an avid swimming nerd, he reads most of the articles on SwimSwam, so he wants to give back to the community and desperately avoid more worthy pursuits such as homework or a good night’s sleep or cultivating a love interest. He believes that Los Alamos has a good chance to move up with their divers, relays, and sprinters, but that would be unprofessional to reflect in the article. He will likely be compulsively checking the comments, so if the reader has any questions or encouragement that Max isn’t insane, he will likely reply. Also, if he can sneak it in between prelims, finals, and the state chess championships the same weekend, Max will likely write up or at least score the meet after prelims.