Keri-Ann Petty, who is a swim coach in New Mexico, has been following the New Mexico high school season for SwimSwam. She submitted the below report for the state meet prelims.
The 2014 NMAA High School Championships prelims at Albuquerque Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico left much to be anticipated for the finals set for Saturday. While two state records were broken, most high ranked swimmers swam conservative, safe races to land them lanes in the finals. However, a vibrant group of youth dominated the day with an abundance of lowerclassmen set to showcase their talents in the finals.
The first record to fall came from Volcano Vista freshman Zofia Niemczak in the 100-Butterfly. Niemczak tied the 2012 record with a 56.62 in the preliminaries to grab the top seed from now shared record holder Cassaundra Pino of Albuquerque High. Pino, a junior, was 55.85 in January at the Metro Championships making this one of the most anticipated races on Saturday. Niemczak and Pino will also face-off in the 200-Freestyle at the beginning of the meet, where once again Niemczak led the field Friday with a 1:55.85.
The second record of the day came in the 100-Freestyle where John Magnus Holler led off the Cibola High School relay in a 44.84, making him the first 16&Under male in New Mexico to swim a sub-45 in the event. Choosing to opt out of the 100-Freestyle individual to swim the 100-Butterfly on a record quest, Holler posted a 49.33; just a mere four tenths shy of the state mark of 48.93. Second seed in the event is Albuquerque Academy’s Anthony Kim, the two-time defending state champion. Holler also cruised to a top seed in the 200-Freestyle where he could challenge history there as well by swimming the first sub-1:40 in New Mexico waters
If positioning for Saturday’s final was the objective on Friday, the Cibola boys’ team did everything they needed to secure a state title on Saturday. Positioning all of their individual finalists, relays, and a diver in championship finals, they will be hard to beat. Chasing them is a close pack for second between Albuquerque Academy, La Cueva, and Rio Rancho. The difference between second and fourth likely will come from critical points in consolation finals and the placement of divers throughout the meet. With all four of the team’s leading relay rankings, those outcomes will play a critical role.
On the girls’ side of the competition, Eldorado High School dominated the preliminaries between the ropes while their divers are ranked second, third, and tenth after the preliminaries. Rivals La Cueva High School has significant depth; however, they were unable to place enough swimmers in championship finals to prove a pure threat. La Cueva will be challenged by Los Alamos throughout the day while Las Cruces can pose a challenge for a top-3 placement as well.