The Los Lunas Stingrays swim team is more than half-way through its summer season, and the experience and practice are starting to pay off. The swimmers are shooting to qualify for the season-ending Sundance swim meet and are looking strong, according to Suzy Wulf, the Stingrays coach.
“They’re doing very well,” Wulf said. “Everybody is improving as the meets go on. And, as they get more practice, the times keep dropping.”
On Wednesday at the Los Lunas High School pool, the Stingrays competed in their eighth meet of a 13-meet season, against Truth or Consequences. And many Stingrays posted their best times of the summer.
One swimmer who had great success was 16-year-old Tyler Farmer, who turned in the fastest times on the team in all three events he swam. Farmer swam the 50-yard freestyle in 23.97 seconds, the 100 in 53.84 and the 100-butterfly in 27.72.
On the girls side, Ameryn Kreiner edged out two teammates in the 50 freestyle in the 15- to 18-year-old division. She covered the distance in 29 flat.
A lot of improvement is being shown by the younger swimmers, according to Cara Curry, who, like Wulf, swam for the high school swim team.
“Most of these kids are just learning how to swim. But their speed is really coming up quickly,” Curry said.
Marcus Chavez and Chris Ellis have increased their speeds and lowered their times. They swam alongside each other in the 50 freestyle. Chavez edged Ellis, winning in 27.33.
The competition between teammates is just as stiff on the girls side of the 13-14 age division. In the 50 freestyle, Becky Woodruff barely swam past her teammate, Asia Kuellmer. Woodruff finished in 34.28, while Kuellmer followed closely in a time of 34.75.
Twelve-year-old Zachary Lovato was a standout in the 50 and 100 freestyles. Lovato torched the competition with times of 27.94 in the 50 and 1:05.75 in the 100.
Another 12-year-old who has been impressive in the freestyle is Erin Griego. She swam both the 50 and 100 frees and, much like Lovato, finished ahead of her teammates, with times of 31.87 and 1:13.07 in the 50 and 100 freestyle, respectively.
In the 9- to 10-year-old division, Jeff Simms edged out his opposition in the 25 freestyle with a time of 17.97. For the girls, Kelli Williams, 10, swam past her competition with times of 16.50 in the 25 freestyle and 39.22 in the 50.
Many of the Stingrays are trying to lower their times in order to qualify for the Sundance Aquatic Championships next month. While the older swimmers tend to be more competitive, Curry said, the attitude is a little different with the 8-and-under swimmers she coaches.
“It really depends on the kids,” she said. “Some kids come out to have fun and meet other kids, but some of them are very competitive. It’s their choice how competitive they want to make it.”
Whether the children are competing with each other or just swimming for fun, Curry said, it is important for the kids on a number of levels.
“I think it is important for the kids to learn to swim, if not for sport, for safety reasons,” she said.
Coach Wulf, who has headed the Stingrays for several years, is pleased with the number of swimmers participating in the program this year. There are 95 swimmers on the team this year.
Some of the more competitive members of the Stingrays will be traveling to Albuquerque Academy to compete in the New Mexico Games this weekend. The Stingrays will resume their season schedule on Saturday, July 6, at Rio Rancho.