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Swimming and diving: Girls win, boys take 4th at home

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By Mike Cote

Following the toughest training stretch of the season, Los Alamos Hilltopper head coach Bev Leasure wanted to see how her teams would respond Saturday.The results at Saturday’s Los Alamos Quadrangular were generally mixed but not terribly surprising.“We had some good swims and we had some tired swims,” Leasure said following Saturday’s meet at the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center. “The guys swam stronger than the girls did. The girls were tired.”Even though they were tired, the Hilltopper girls still earned a solid team victory, picking up 193 team points, easily outdistancing second-place Eldorado with 141 points. The ‘Topper boys were fourth with 114 points. Sandia nipped Eldorado for the team title, scoring 159 points.Even after the tough training schedule, known around the squad as “hell week,” several swimmers were still able to post some strong times, among them, Alisa Romero in the 200-yard individual medley.Romero, who has already qualified for state championship competition this season in the 100 backstroke and the 500 freestyle, said reaching her state cut time in the 200 IM was a challenge both physically and mentally.The state qualifying time in the event is 2:31.09. Romero made the cut with just two-hundredths of a second to spare.“I didn’t think I actually made it,” she said. “When I saw the clock it was like, ‘I can’t believe it.’ It was quite a relief.”After the butterfly and backstroke portions of the swim, Romero seemed to be cruising, but her breaststroke split of 46.36, she said, was decidedly subpar. But a strong freestyle leg helped put her over the top.“The whole swim, I didn’t feel too good,” Romero said, adding that she was still feeling the effects of the tough training regimen.However, there were plenty of other girls and boys who were still recovering from hell week.Several of Saturday’s posted times were slower — more than few considerably slower — than in previous meets.However, most of Los Alamos’ top swimmers will get a break from competition next week at the St. Michael’s Invitational. Leasure said she planned to hold out most of her varsity swimmers so they can prepare for a meet at Albuquerque Academy the following week.For the Hilltopper boys, their best showing of the day came in the 100 butterfly.A trio of Los Alamos boys, Micah Putnam, Dylan Lake and Peter Song took part in the event. Both Lake and Putnam picked up state cut times in the race — finishing second and third behind Duncan Djang of Sandia — while Song just missed out on a cut time, falling less than seven-tenths off the pace.It was a good day for Lake, who also chopped nearly half a second off his previous best time in the 100 breaststroke, taking second place.Leasure said there’s still plenty of room for improvement on the boys’ side prior to the state meet, which is less than two months off.“They’re still young,” she said. “They’re doing well, but we have work to do with them.”Individual results will be in Tuesday’s Monitor.