Swimming and diving: LA should be rested heading to state

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By Mike Cote

The warm, steamy confines of the Albuquerque Academy Natatorium can’t melt one cold, hard fact.

Should the Los Alamos Hilltopper boys or girls swim teams have their eyes on an upset at the state championship meet this weekend, it will be the host Chargers they will have to knock off the medal podium.

Both Academy’s teams will be favored heading into the state meet. Preliminary heats will go Friday and the final and consolation rounds are scheduled for Saturday.

“It looks like on both sides, Academy will be favored,” Hilltopper co-head coach Rusty Bernstein said. “Especially on the boys side. It’ll be a battle for second between us, Rio Rancho, maybe Eldorado and Albuquerque. I’d say those are probably the next four.”

The Hilltopper swim teams are taking 13 girls, including one alternate, to the state meet along with nine boys (one alternate).

In the diving competition, the preliminary and semifinal rounds of which will be held Friday at West Mesa Aquatic Center, the Hilltoppers have four entrants. The finals of the diving competition will be held following the boys 50-yard freestyle championship race Saturday.

Academy, meanwhile, will place at least two athletes in each of the boys and girls individual events. It also boasts the best seed time in five of the six relay events and has some of the top divers in the state on its roster.

However, Academy’s girls won’t go into the meet as the defending champions or last season’s runners-up. The crown belongs to La Cueva, which held off Los Alamos for the state title last season 312 points to 248.5 points.

Academy’s boys won the 2007-08 state meet handily, nearly doubling-up on its nearest opponent, Sandia Prep (406-206). Los Alamos finished tied for seventh with Farmington, both picking up 136 points.

Los Alamos’ top boys finishers from the state meet last season will be back swimming their same events.

Colton Lake took fourth in the 100 backstroke for Los Alamos and is going into the state meet seeded in that same spot. Seeded ahead of him are last season’s top two finishers, Farmington’s Chris Riley and Albuquerque’s Jacob Mortensen.

In the 200 individual medley, Micah Putnam will return to try to improve upon his fifth-place finish last season.

Putnam, who has missed time this season due to injury, will head into the meet seeded eighth in the 200 IM.

On the girls side, Sammi Kao will return to swim in the 100 butterfly and 200 freestyle for Los Alamos. Kao placed fourth individually in the butterfly last season and was the state runner-up in the freestyle, Los Alamos’ top individual finish among the returners.

At last season’s meet, then-senior Kara Leasure won the 200 IM and placed second in the 500 freestyle.

Kao and Leasure, along with returners Alisa Romero and Chelsea McLean, finished fourth in the 400 freestyle relay.

In diving, Lisa Ann Hendricks finished ninth overall while Lauren Bucklin placed 13th. Both will return this weekend, as will Kelsey Neal and Lindy Jacobs.

Los Alamos’ biggest concern for the past two weeks is stepping down the training so its athletes are in top physical condition for the meet.

Many of the Hilltoppers got a week off last week. Only a handful were sent to the District 1 championship meet, mostly those still needing to qualify for state.

“One thing we tried to do this year was not put too much emphasis on any one regular season meet,” Bernstein said. “We trained all the way through the season. We didn’t point to any one meet during the season and say ‘let’s really go for this one,’ … but were putting all our mental energy into the state meet.”

Bernstein said he thought most of the team was looking refreshed due to the workout tapering and the fact that there was no school Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

Although the Hilltoppers would love to walk out of the meet with a win, Bernstein said that the most important goal is simply to have a good day in the pool.

“I’d rather have everyone have a great meet, swim great and take ninth or 10th,” he said. “The emphasis is on personal swimming results. You do that and the points will take care of themselves.”


Here are Los Alamos’ entries and seed times/points for the state swimming and diving championship meet.


200 medley relay

Alisa Romero, Victoria Maqueda, Sammi Kao, Alexandra Hamada, Maggie Schappell (alternate), Maria Musgrave (alternate), Taylor Montoya (alternate), Grace Liu (alternate), 1:59.71.

200 freestyle

Sammi Kao, 2:05.34; Jennifer Barich-Mooday, 2:06.69.

200 individual medley

Lauren Castro, 2:25.01.

50 freestyle

Alexandra Hamada, 25.83; Victoria Maqueda, 26.23; Chelsea McLean, 26.89; Grace Liu, 26.92.

1 meter diving

Kelsey Neal, 263.70; Lisa Ann Hendricks, 202.70; Lindy Jacobs, 155.70; Lauren Bucklin, 154.55.

100 butterfly

Sammi Kao, 1:02.77; Natalia Moore, 1:03.61; Monica Clodius, 1:06.44.

100 freestyle

Grace Liu, 57.53; Alexandra Hamada, 57.70; Maggie Schappell, 58.67; Maria Musgrave, 58.68.

500 freestyle

Alisa Romero, 5:41.93; Jennifer Barich-Mooday, 5:43.33.

200 freestyle relay

Jennifer Barich-Mooday, Alexandra Hamada, Grace Liu, Victoria Maqueda, Chelsea McLean (alternate), Maggie Schappell (alternate), 1:47.40.

100 backstroke

Alisa Romero, 1:05.31; Maggie Schappell, 1:06.50; Lauren Castro, 1:07.69.

100 breaststroke

Victoria Maqueda, 1:09.58; Natalia Moore, 1:12.36; Maria Musgrave, 1:16.48.

400 freestyle relay

Jennifer Barich-Mooday, Sammi Kao, Grace Liu, Maggie Schappell, Chelsea McLean (alternate), Alexandra Hamada (alternate), 3:58.04.


200 medley relay

Alex Baker, Andy Zhao, Ace Ventura, Misha Skurikhin, Chris Calhoun (alternate), Adam Izraelevitz (alternate), Colton Lake (alternate), Dylan Lake (alternate), 1:44.47.

200 individual medley

Micah Putnam, 2:03.04.

50 freestyle

Colton Lake, 22.54.

100 butterfly

Alex Baker, 54.46; Dylan Lake, 56.08.

100 freestyle

Misha Skurikhin, 51.52.

500 freestyle

Alex Baker, 5:12.78; Dylan Lake, 5:15.35; Chris Calhoun, 5:26.34; Ace Ventura, 5:26.71.

200 freestyle relay

Colton Lake, Dylan Lake, Micah Putnam, Mish Skurikhin, Alex Baker (alternate), Adam Izraelevitz (alternate), 1:32.05.

100 backstroke

Colton Lake, 56.42; Micah Putnam, 57.71.

400 freestyle relay

Colton Lake, Dylan Lake, Micah Putnam, Misha Skurikhin, Alex Baker (alternate), Adam Izraelevitz (alternate), 3:23.88.