Twenty-eight high school swim teams competed at the Southern Arizona Regional Qualifier Swim Meet in Oro Valley on Oct. 26-27. It was the final opportunity for the teams from Southern Arizona to achieve qualifying times for the State Championship Meet this weekend. In the team scores, the Miners finished in the middle of the pack (Girls 14th with 36 points, and Boys 14th with 69 points), but since the Miners represented one of the smallest schools at the meet, the team was proud with their results.
The preliminary session was held on Friday. The goal in prelims was to advance to the finals held on Saturday. With 28 teams at the meet, achieving a top 16 finish is great accomplishment. Some outstanding performances by the Miners did just that, earning spots for 3 relays and 7 individual events in the finals on Saturday.
Rianna Estrada earned a 16th place finish in the 200 Individual Medley (IM) ending her Freshman season on a solid note. She showed a lot of potential during the season and will certainly be ready to qualify for State next year.
As a senior, Michael Primero-Predgo entered the meet not knowing if the provisional qualifying times he had swam at previous qualifying meets were good enough to get him to the State Championship Meet. Michael swam the meet of his life. He finished in 10th place in the 100 Backstroke with a great time of 1:03.42. Michael finished in 11th place in the 50 Freestyle with a time of 23.84. Later, in his leadoff leg of the 200 Freestyle relay, Michael swam the 50 Freestyle in 23.49 breaking the San Manuel High School Record of 23.79 held by Colby Stratton (set in 2016). Times from both races guarantee Michael a spot at the State Championship Meet this weekend.
Darien Apuron had swam fast enough during the season to know that she would be competing at State and used the meet as a final tune up. She swam school record breaking times against great competition in the 100 Butterfly and the 100 Backstroke showing that she is ready. In the Backstroke, she swam a time of 1:05.26 for a 5th place finish which bettered her old record of 1:06.34 set in September by more than 1 second. In the Butterfly, she swam a 1:01.67 on her way to a 4th place finish which eclipsed the previous school record of 1:02.00 which was she set at the 2017 State Championship Meet.
In the Division III State Swim Rankings, Evan Apuron is ranked among the fastest. Only three swimmers have broken the 2 minute mark in the 200 IM this season. Evan swam a stellar time of 1:59.55 in prelims only to go even faster in finals with a time of 1:59.40 to win the event. In the 100 Breaststroke, Evan had his eye on the 1 minute barrier. He came tantalizingly close to it in prelims with a time of 1:00.20. In finals, he came even closer with a time of 1:00.05 to win the event by more than 3 seconds. Evan’s times in both events are school records, that bettered times he set earlier this season (2:00.62 and 1:01.81 respectively). As the entries to the State Championship Meet are submitted, Evan will likely be seeded in second place in the Breaststroke since only one swimmer has broken the 1 minute mark this season.
The Boys Relay Team of Michael Primero-Predgo, Hunter Hill, Daniel Garcia, and Evan Apuron entered the meet needing to swim below 1:41 in the 200 Free Relay if they hoped to advance to the State Championship Meet. All four boys put down their fastest relay leg of the season to record a time of 1:40.66 on their way to a 12th place finish at the meet. Despite being one of the smaller schools, Miner Swimmers have found a way to qualify a relay team to state for the 5th consecutive year.
In the 400 Free Relay, the same four boys swam a great time of 3:52.6 on their way to a 14th place finish. The time is a very good state provisional time but will most like fall short of being able to compete at State this year.
Coach Alex Gort was excited about the success the Miners had at the meet.
“Michael came through in a big way when he had to, otherwise his season would have ended,” Coach Gort told the San Manuel Miner. “Darien is swimming the best I have ever seen her and is ready for a great State Championship Meet. Evan showed that he is one of the best in Southern Arizona. The Boys Relay earning a spot at the State Meet put the icing on the cake for me. ”
With 5 new school records, and some great individual and relay swims, the Miners look ready to compete in the State Championship Meet. The Division III State Swim Championship will be held at Phoenix Country Day Aquatic Center in Paradise Valley beginning on Friday, Nov. 2, at 3:30 p.m., with Finals scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3.