Eight dedicated club swimmers from the Taos Tiger Sharks – Taos’ swim club coached by Alfredo Aleman and his wife, Melissa – traveled to the four-day end-of-season meet held at the Farmington Aquatic Center in Farmington July 27-30. Known as the “Long Course State Championships” for their metric distance measurements, the meet was the ceremonial end to a stretch of USA Swimming meets and events (qualifiers) that began at the start of 2017.
“My coaching staff and I are very pleased with how well all the swimmers performed at the state meet,” said coach Aleman. “Taos had a lot of top 10 finishes and personal records were broken.”
This year, the Tiger Sharks were represented by athletes in each of the four age categories. There were three swimmers in the 10 and under, two in the 11-12 group, two in the 13-14-year-olds and one in the 15-16 category.
Representing Taos in the youngest age group were Juan Romo and Dillon Brown. Also making the trip was the lone 9-year-old swimmer, Isla Chavez, who returned to the state meet by posting a qualifying time earlier in the year in the 100-meter breaststroke. Chavez was one of two 8-year-old swimmers to compete with the 10 and under group last year in Santa Fe.
Rounding out the other participants were Aricela Chavez, Ashley McMains, Nathan Hernandez, Eddie Duran and Estevan Salazar.
Outstanding performer Hernandez brought home two state titles in the 13-14 age group. He came in first in the 50-meter butterfly and 100-meter backstroke. Hernandez accumulated enough overall points to be named the third highest point award winner of the meet.
Another notable moment occurred when Aricela Chavez, who was the first swimmer from Taos to compete July 27, placed third in the 400-meter freestyle and improved in time by 18.89 seconds to record her personal best to date.
Listed below are the swimmers and their respective individual results from the meet.
Dillon Brown (age 10)
– fourth in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle, fourth in the 200-meter individual medley, fourth in the 50- and 100-meter backstroke, third in the 200-meter freestyle and sixth in the 50-meter butterfly.
Isla Chavez (age 9)
–ninth place in the 100-meter breaststroke.
Aricela Chavez (age 12)
–third place in the 400-meter freestyle, seventh in the 50- and 200-meter freestyle, eighth place in the 100-meter freestyle, 13th place in the 200-meter individual medley and 14th in the 100-meter backstroke.
Eddie Duran (age 13)
– fourth place in the 200-meter butterfly, seventh in the 50-meter butterfly and 21st in the 100-meter freestyle.
Nathan Hernandez (age 14)
– first place in the 50-meter butterfly and 100-meter backstroke, second in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle, third in the 200-meter butterfly and 400-meter freestyle and fourth in the 100-meter freestyle.
Ashley McMains (age 16)
– sixth place in the 50- and 200-meter backstroke, eighth in the 100-meter backstroke, ninth in the 50-meter butterfly and 12th in the 50-meter freestyle.
Juan Romo (age 10)
– second place in the 100-meter butterfly; third in the 50-meter freestyle; fifth in the 50-meter backstroke, 50-meter butterfly and 100-meter backstroke; sixth in the 200-meter freestyle; seventh in the 100-meter freestyle.
Estevan Salazar (age 13)
– fourth place in the 50-meter backstroke, 13th in the 200- and 400-meter freestyle, 15th in the 100-meter freestyle, 16th in the 50-meter freestyle.
For the second year in a row, Aleman was nominated and voted as New Mexico coach of the year by his peers at the state meet.
And for the second year in a row, Aleman humbly deferred the award to his coaching staff. “I am very thankful for this recognition,” said Aleman, who received this accolade from fellow coaches from the 25 teams and clubs from around the state. “But I want to stress that this accomplishment is a group effort.”
“This award that has been given to me today by New Mexico Swimming is just a recognition to all of the hard work and dedication of the entire Taos Swim Club coaching staff, swim teachers, pool staff and lifeguards,”said Aleman. “I’m very lucky to be part of such a great group of people who are helping grow the sport of swimming in Taos and by doing so, they are making a big difference in a lot of young people’s life in our community.”
The Taos Swim Club coaching staff members include Melissa Aleman, who works with the kids who transition out of the pre-competition and into their respective competitive teams. The developmental and learn-to-swim coaches include Modesta Chavez, Greta Brown, Stephanie Daffron, Jennifer Martinez and Rosalinda Molina.
“I also want to give a big thank-you to all of the parents, volunteers, sponsors for all their hard work,” said Aleman. “Town of Taos Mayor Dan Barrone and Manager Rick Bellis deserve kudos as well for their support and belief in the organization.”