Boys swimming: LA takes third at state Saturday

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By Mike Cote

ALBUQUERQUE — Heading into the state championship swim meet, Los Alamos head coach Rusty Bernstein said his team’s depth could prove to be a factor Saturday.

Apparently, he knew what he was talking about.

Los Alamos put together some solid swims at Saturday’s championship finals, enough to put it in contention in team standings. The Hilltopper boys grabbed third place Saturday, picking up 202 total points, holding off Albuquerque High School to earn a trophy at the meet.

Preliminary heats were held Friday and the finals were held Saturday at Albuquerque Academy’s Natatorium.

The weekend didn’t start off as well as it finished, however. Going into the state championship meet, Los Alamos had high hopes it could put up some big points with its relay squads, but Friday it failed to get its 400-yard freestyle relay team qualified for the championship race.

Los Alamos fell nearly two seconds short of the eighth and final slot to get into the state title race.

“That was disappointing that the 400 freestyle relay didn’t make the final,” said Hilltopper Alex Baker, one of the members of that team. “(Saturday) we’re all doing what we can.”

But with swims like Baker’s third-place finish in the 100 butterfly and Colton Lake’s third-place finish in the 100 backstroke, Los Alamos was able to make up for any disappointment it was feeling over the relay finish.

For his part in the 100 butterfly, Baker followed up his 53.78 finish Friday, making him the second seed after the prelims, to a 54.48 finish in the championship race. Tristan Bennett of Eldorado just nipped Baker for the runner-up spot (54.13), while Marcus Guttmann of Academy won the event.

Academy had one of the best days in the history of its program Saturday, which is saying something as it was already the most decorated swim team in state prep swimming. It finished with a whopping total of 409 points, nearly twice as much as its nearest competitor, Rio Rancho, and broke two state records, including a record Los Alamos has held since 1982.

Los Alamos held the longest-standing state meet record, the 400 freestyle relay, for nearly 30 years, but Academy’s time of 3:12.44 was nearly half-a-second better than the 3:12.90 the team of Lee Manthei, Voil Lattin, Brian Upham and Richard Keyser set at the state meet. Los Alamos won the boys team title in 1982.

Academy swept the three relay events, which count for double the points as the individual events, and posted two new state records.

Lake, meanwhile, finished with a 55.66 to take third in the 100 backstroke. As a junior last season, Lake finished fourth in the event. He finished two spots ahead of teammate Micah Putnam in fifth place.

Dylan Lake, meanwhile, was fourth in the 100 butterfly and fifth in the 500 freestyle. He posted a 5:10.96 in Friday’s prelim but knocked that time down by nearly three seconds Saturday.

“It’s hard, but it’s worth it,” Lake said of swimming the long event on two straight days. “You have a feeling of accomplishment. It helps to be in the finals, too.”

Baker was eighth in the 500 freestyle, the second event in which Los Alamos qualified multiple swimmers for the finals.

Putnam also finished fourth in the 200 individual medley.

Here are the results from Saturday’s state swimming and diving championships. Athletes are from Los Alamos unless otherwise indicated.

Team scores

1. Albuquerque Academy, 409; 2. Rio Rancho, 232; 3. Los Alamos, 202; 4. Albuquerque, 198.5; 5. Eldorado, 187; 6. Farmington, 172; 7. La Cueva, 136; 8. Las Cruces, 110; 9. Cibola, 108; 10. St. Pius X, 92; 11. Sandia, 85; 12. Bosque School, 79; 13. St. Michael’s, 54; 14. Sandia Prep, 47.5; 15. Valley, 28; 16. Mesilla Valley, 27; 17. Carlsbad, 20; 18. Santa Fe, 19; 19. Hobbs, 17; 20. Clovis, 16; 21. NMMI, 15; 22. Desert Academy, 13; 23. Highland, 12; 24. West Mesa, 9; 25. Miyamura, 2; 26. Gallup, 1.

Individual results

200 medley relay

1. Academy, 1:51.66; 2. Eldorado, 1:40.80; 3. Farmington, 1:41.36; 6. Los Alamos (Alex Baker, Andy Zhao, Micah Putnam, Misha Skurikhin), 1:44.70.

200 freestyle

1. Drew Sacoman, Sandia, 1:45.88; 2. Clint Larson, Farmington, 1:46.44; 3. Brandon Huffman, Cibola, 1:48.81.

200 individual medley

1. Jacob Mortensen, Albuquerque, 1:56.19; 2. Tristan Bennett, Eldorado, 2:00.75; 3. Chris Riley, Farmington, 2:03.04; 4. Micah Putnam, 2:03.10.

50 freestyle

1. Kalani Kaula, Academy, 21.47; 2. Richard Melchor, Cibola, 21.53; 3. Tim Zoltowski, 21.62; 8. Colton Lake, 22.27.

1 meter diving

1. Kyle Lang, Academy, 405.85; 2. Mallet Reid, Hobbs, 362.25; 3. Gary Moku, Rio Rancho, 336.55.

100 butterfly

1. Marcus Guttmann, Academy, 52.60; 2. Tristan Bennett, Eldorado, 54.13; 3. Alex Baker, 54.48; 4. Dylan Lake, 55.41.

100 freestyle

1. Kalani Kaula, Academy, 47.33; 2. Drew Sacoman, Sandia, 47.73; 3. Clint Larson, Farmington, 47.74; 10. Misha Skurikhin, 50.69.

500 freestyle

1. Marcus Guttmann, Academy, 4:40.57; 2. Colin Martin, 4:51.81; 3. Brandon Huffman, Cibola, 5:00.53; 5. Dylan Lake, 5:08.02; 8. Alex Baker, 5:13.42; 10. Ace Ventura, 5:11.14; 18. Chris Calhoun, 5:23.95.

200 freestyle relay

1. Academy, 1:26.67; 2. Rio Rancho, 1:29.16; 3. Los Alamos (Colton Lake, Misha Skurikhin, Micah Putnam, Dylan Lake), 1:30.86.

100 backstroke

1. Chris Riley, Farmington, 51.70; 2. Jacob Mortensen, Albuquerque, 52.84; 3. Colton Lake, 55.66; 5. Micah Putnam, 56.40.

100 breaststroke

1. Elliot Feng, Academy, 59.61; 2. Seth Lemon, Bosque School, 59.71; 3. Ethan Fine, La Cueva, 1:00.23.

400 freestyle relay

1. Academy, 3:12.44; 2. Rio Rancho, 3:19.29; 3. Farmington, 3:21.29; 9. Los Alamos (Colton Lake, Misha Skurikhin, Alex Baker, Dylan Lake), 3:26.90.