The Arizona Age Group Long Course State Championship Swim Meet was held July 17-20 at the Arizona State University Mona Plummer Aquatic Center in Tempe. The Long Course Championship is held in a 50 meter pool (Olympic size) which is different from the short course championship which is held in a 25-yard pool in March. San Manuel Swimmers Evan Apuron (11), Riley Stewart (10), Nate Fister (12), Andres Valenzuela (12) and Will Newman (14) all achieved qualifying times at USA Swimming sanctioned meets to allow them to compete at the championship meet for swimmers ages 14 and under.
The 12 and under boys 400 Freestyle relay team was excited about qualifying. The team of Evan Apuron, Riley Stewart, Nate Fister, and Andres Valenzuela improved their time by a total of 11 seconds on the way to a 18th place finish with a time of 5:36.31.
At the state meet, there are only three age groups (10 and under, 11-12, 13-14). Evan Apuron, had his 11th birthday only a couple weeks before the championship meet. This meant he would have to achieve the much tougher 11-12 boys qualifying times and race against boys almost two years older than him. Evan did not back down from the challenge and qualified several events and chose to compete in the 50 Fly, 100 Fly and 50 Free. Evan had some great swims and narrowly missed making the top 16 cut to qualify for finals. Evan finished 18th in the 50 Fly, 20th in the 100 Fly, and 47th in the 50 Free.
Riley Stewart qualified in every event in his age group and got to choose which events he could swim (up to the maximum of six). Riley started things off with a seventh place finish in the 400 Free with a time of 5:54.82 on the first day of competition. On the second day of competition, Riley successfully qualified for the finals (first – eighth) in the 200 Free and Consolation Finals (ninth – 16th) in the 100 Back and 100 Free. After joining teammates on the relay, Riley returned to the final sessions where he finished eighth in the 200 Free (2:50.16), 12th in the 100 Back (1:31.03), and 13th in the 100 Free (1:18.31). On the final day of competition, Riley qualified for the Consolation Finals in the 100 Breast and 50 Free in Prelims and had some great swims in finals, a 12th in the 100 Breast (1:43.93) and ninth in the 50 Free (33.31).
Will Newman of San Manuel also swam the maximum number of events competing for FAST Swim Team in Oro Valley. Will finished 16th in the 200 Free (2:14.64), eighth in the 100 Back (1:09.05), 13th in the 400 IM (5:20.33), seventh in the 200 Back (2:26.30), eighth in the 100 Fly (1:05.88) and 13th in the 50 Free (27.68).
The Sea Lions Swim Team finished with 46 points and finished in 19th place out of the 41 teams in the Arizona. Coach Alex Gort summarized the meet, “We had some great experiences at the meet. Nate and Andres got a taste of what it feels like to swim in a state championship meet, Evan got his first taste of swimming in the 11-12 age group, and Riley and Will showed how good they are qualifying to swim finals in every event they entered.”
The Sea Lions swim team practices in San Manuel and is accepting new swimmers. Contact Alex Gort at 896-2190 for more information.