Aquatomics place third at state

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By Phil Scherer

 The Los Alamos Aquatomics swim team finished third at the state championships last weekend, making it one of their most successful seasons ever.

One year ago, the team finished eighth at the state championships and was intent on improving in all aspects this year.

After a summer of strong performances, they did just that.

Seven different swimmers won individual events, and the team came out on top in three relays.

The relays ended up being a key factor for the team, because relay performances are worth double the points of individual races at the state championships.

Assistant coach Linda Corliss, who has been with the team since 2008, said she had never seen a performance like that.

“I can’t remember us ever doing quite that well,” Corliss said.  “I’m proud of everyone because they all put their heart and soul into this all weekend and came away with some great results.”

Going into the final day of competition, Corliss said she tallied up what the results would be if everyone swam to their seed times.

When the races took place, the final scores were more than 10 points higher than what was predicted.

“That shows that everybody swam better than what was expected and really gave it their all,” Corliss said.

One of the top swimmers for the Aquatomics was Ming Lo, who Corliss labeled as the “star of the meet for us.”

He won six of his seven events, and most of those were by wide margins. Impressively, he won the 200-meter breaststroke by more than 20 seconds over the second place finisher.

“He had a couple races that were pretty close, but for the most part he was winning big,” Corliss said.

Another top performer for the team was Max Corliss, who won two events.

It was his first time winning a state event. In both races, he beat his brother Andy, who was just elevated to the 13-14 division two weeks ago.

In his final meet with the Aquatomics before heading to the University of Wyoming, Alex Jaegers won three events.

According to Corliss, he plans to walk onto the swim team at Wyoming this fall.

Jillian Bennett won two events at state despite being away from the team for most of the summer. Her family went on a trip to Alaska in June, and she missed most of the season.

“It was really impressive how well she did in the sprint events after being gone,” Corliss said. “She really focused in those areas and the results showed.”

Overall, Corliss said she couldn’t even put how proud she was of the team into words.

“It was just a really great weekend and I’m very excited about how well we’ve done all year,” she said.

Although the summer season is now over for most of the team, a select few will now advance to the Western Zone Meet, which is considered among the most prestigious in the country.

The qualified swimmers will go to Albuquerque this weekend to practice with the team. They will then head to Rosedale, California next week for the meet, which begins on Wednesday.