Makayla Grijalva | News-Bulletin photo
Brothers, Joshua and Dylan Jones each sporting a sweatshirt from their high schools during an April swim meet at Belen High School. The brothers, who have both been swimming competitively since elementary school, both anchor their respective teams’ relay teams, putting them head-to head.

Editors Note: The story has been corrected to reflect that Dylan’s time during their last relay competing against each other was 26.02 seconds and Joshua’s was 23.57. Additionally, Joshua has been swimming for the high school team for four years.  

Dylan and Joshua Jones take sibling rivalry to a whole new level.

The Jones brothers both have been swimming competitively since they were in elementary school, but the sport took on a new level when they were both chosen to anchor the boys swimming relay for their rival schools — Dylan at Belen High School and Joshua at Los Lunas High School.

“It’s been exciting. It’s always been like the best parts of the meet,” said Dylan, the younger of the two. “We’ve been cutting time like crazy every time we race against each other, so it’s been really fun.”

“It’s more frustrating for me because he always beats me,” said graduating senior, Joshua.

Although Belen continues to edge out Los Lunas in the race by just seconds, both boys have been swimming best personal records — Dylan coming in at 26.02 seconds and Joshua at 23.57 seconds during their last race against one another.

“That has made this season feel more normal because that race is so exciting every time and everyone is cheering,” Belen swim coach Andrea Montano said. “It makes it feel a little bit like normal time.

“We know that we’ve got to give Dylan a pretty good lead just because Josh, his brother, is four years stronger and four years more mature, but he’s held him off.”

Submitted photo
Dylan Jones competes in the 100 meter breast stroke.

In addition to the relay, Dylan deems the breast stroke to be his best while Joshua prefers the backstroke, so the relay is the only race where they go head to head.

Montano has coached Dylan, who is currently a freshman, for two years beginning in his eighth-grade season. She joked about how she wished both of the Jones brothers swam for Belen.

“They both have great attitudes. It seems like Josh is very encouraging to Dylan,” Montano said. “I know it probably kills him that we’ve beat him the last couple times, but Josh always comes out with a smile and it seems it’s been pretty positive.”

Marissa Candelaria, the coach for Los Lunas swim team, previously had the opportunity of coaching both Dylan and Joshua while they were swimming for the Lobo Aquatics club team. She said Joshua has been swimming with the high school team for four years and has shown a tremendous amount of growth.

“Last year, they seemed to kind of ignore each other at meets, but now, especially in the relays when they are head to head, it really pushes both of them and their drive seems to really be stronger,” Candelaria said.

Submitted photo
Joshua Jones competes in the 100 meter butterfly.

Joshua began competing in swim when he was 10, influenced by the friend he had on the club team at the time.

“I started swimming because I figured I wasn’t too good at any other sports, but really good at swimming, so might as well pursue that,” Joshua said with a laugh.

Dylan was quick to follow in his brother’s footsteps, beginning to also swim when he was about 10 years old, however a few years after Joshua started.

According to their mom, Liz, Dylan joined the sport not because of his brother but more because he broke his leg prior to joining. Swimming was the only sport he could participate in while healing.

“From then on, that’s all he’s done,” Liz said.

When the time came for Joshua to begin high school, he decided that football was the sport for him and began playing for Los Lunas High School after some persuasion from a close cousin who also attended the school at the time. It wasn’t until his junior year that Joshua switched back to swimming.

“His older cousin really wanted him to play football, so it’s kind of interesting. It was all about football for the last four years, but he’s always been super talented at swim,” said Mike Jones, dad to Dylan and Joshua. “He’s really shown a much bigger passion for swimming his senior year. It kind of came out of nowhere to us.”

Dylan said even though his brother was attending Los Lunas High, when the time came last year to choose which high school he would attend, Belen was the frontrunner.

“I wanted to go to Belen because it’s where all my friends were already going, so I just figured I might as well go there,” Dylan said.

Submitted photo
Joshua Jones, left, and his younger brother Dylan Jones, right, during a 2018 summer league they both participated in. According to their mom, Liz, this is the only photo where Joshua can be seen sporting a Belen shirt.

Now that Joshua is graduating high school this month, he has made the commitment to swim for the Division 2 school Adam’s State University in Alamosa, Colo. — which his parents pointed out was only a four-hour drive from their home in Belen.

“We’re happy because he was really wanting to go to Texas Tech, Penn State, Hawaii, so it’s a little bit closer,” his father said. “OK, four hours away, we can do that.”

Since Mike travels a lot for work and has an account in Alamosa, Joshua could expect frequent visits from his dad during his time away from New Mexico.

Both Liz and Mike expressed the great pride they have in both of their boys for being the best they can be in a sport they both love, with the brotherly competition being an added bonus.

“They have been somewhat competitive with school. If Joshua does good, it motivated Dylan to do good, too, with things like that,” Mike said. “But, this came out of nowhere. They got in the pool against each other and it was really fun to see.”

“Until this season, it’s the first time that we’ve really seen them competitive,” Liz said. “Dylan is getting bigger, so this year is when he can keep up with his brother, so it’s kind of awesome.”

Both Jones brothers say it was less about the sport and more about the friends they have made along the way while swimming.

“(My favorite part about swimming is) just how fun it is,” Dylan said. “Most of the time, it’s just kind of fun laid back meets, and it’s not super serious.”

“I like the camaraderie,” Joshua said. “I love swimming, of course, but I love coming and being with my friends more, goofing around at practice and just having fun.”

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Makayla Grijalva was born and raised in Las Cruces. She is a 2020 graduate of The University of New Mexico, where she studied multimedia journalism, political science and history.