By BRIENNE GREEN Sports Editor To say the Artesia High School swim teams are off to an impressive start would be an understatement without the aid of numbers.
Over the course of just three meets, the Lady Bulldogs have broken seven school records, and they’ve already qualified for the State Meet in two events.
Just think how dangerous they’ll become now that they have a home swimming pool in which to practice.
After kicking their 2019-20 campaign off Nov. 9 in Las Cruces, the AHS swimmers headed to Hobbs Nov. 16, where the recordbreaking commenced in earnest. Sophomore Emma Greenwood had a hand in all four records broken at Tori’s Invitational, breaking solo records in the 200-, 100- and 50-yard freestyles and joining Abriel Phelps, Jordis Gabaldon and Kambri Fraze in taking down another record in the 200-yard individual medley relay.
The latter record was the oldest, having been set in 2001 with a time of 2:08.99. The current Lady ‘Dogs swam a 2:08.28, not far off the state-qualifying mark of 2:05.89.
The 100-yard freestyle record had been set in 2009 by Brianna Phipps with a time of 59.03, and Greenwood broke that with a first-place 57.16, outlasting Clovis’ Katie Reeb in a close race and qualifying for state in the process. The sophomore also qualified in the 200 freestyle with a 2:04.56, which broke the 2011 Phipps record of 2:08.47.
Greenwood was just shy of qualifying in the 50 free as well, swimming a 26.60 that broke a 2014 record of 26.99 set by Bailey Avery. The state standard in that event is 26.19.
Greenwood did more damage Dec. 7 at the Carlsbad Christmas Invitational, breaking the 200- yard individual medley record of 2:29.46 – set in 2009 by Phipps – with a 2:27.56 and finishing second in a tight race with Carlsbad’s Isabelle Corder.
Greenwood was just off the qualifying mark of 2:24.49 in that event and in the 100-yard breaststroke as well, where her 1:15.72 was 1.7 seconds away from the qualifying 1:13.99. She did outswim Carlsbad’s Zoe Char for first in that event, however, and broke yet another record – this time her own, a 1:18.23 set in 2018.
Meanwhile, the 200 IM relay group broke their own record with a swim of 2:08.00.
“They are getting closer to the 2:05.89 state cut they need to qualify for the NMAA Swimming State Champions at the end of February,” said Artesia head coach Andrea Ciro. “With only 2.1 seconds to drop, it is one of our biggest goals to send our girls’ relays to the state championships.”
The Lady ‘Dogs had several other solid performances at the Carlsbad Invite, including:
• Fraze in fifth in the 200 freestyle, dropping eight seconds off her best time with a 2:25.86.
• Fraze with a seventh-place finish in the 100 yard butterfly (1:28.50).
• Madison Livingston with a fourth-place finish in the 50 freestyle (30.27) and the 100 breaststroke (1:25.64).
• Gabaldon with a third-place finish in the 100 breaststroke (1:23.72) and a fifth-place showing in the 100 free (1:08.43).
• Savana Watts with a runner-up finish in the 100 backstroke (1:18.75) and a seventh-place finish in the 100 free (1:12.88).
• Rylee Crandall with a fourth-place finish in the 100 backstroke (1:25.42) and sixth-place finish in the 100 free (1:12.30).
• Abriel Phelps with a second-place finish in the 500 freestyle (6:16.10), dropping 18 seconds off her previous best time, and another runner-up placement in the 50 free with a personal best of 28.45.
The Bulldogs, meanwhile, have been competing with a small roster but are still making waves against the competition.
Senior Vincent Ray finished fifth in Carlsbad in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:23.76 and ninth in the 50 free with a season best of 29.21.
Newcomer Trent Knowlton was sixth in the 50 free (28.72) and eighth in the 100 free (1:05.40); Jace Salgado was second in the 100 free (59.69)
and dropped four-and-a-half seconds off his previous best in the 100 breaststroke (1:12.83)
for another runner-up swim; Devon Harrison was fifth in the 100 backstroke, dropping nearly seven seconds from his personal best time; and the boys’ 200 medley relay team and 200 freestyle relay group both finished fifth in their events.
Nate Cauhape, who was seventh in the 200 free and sixth in the 100 fly, along with Brooklyn Northrip and Sarah Hardman, also tacked on valuable points for the Artesia teams, allowing both to finish third overall in the meet.
“[We] just added two new swimmers – Chaise Wolf and Robert Morales – to its lineup,” Ciro said. “With new athlete additions to the team, Artesia will now be able to score points with boys’ B relays as well.”
The Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs will spend the next few weeks practicing up for the 2020 portion of their docket, resuming Jan. 3-4 in Andrews, Texas.