June 5, 2018
Aquatomics set personal bests at Early Bird Open
By Phil Scherer, Los Alamos Monitor
Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 1:47 pm
With a new head coach and renewed energy, the Los Alamos Aquatomics swim team has improved greatly in recent months, and showed off that improvement at the VAST Early Bird Open in Albuquerque, where nearly every swimmer picked up personal best times and impressed everyone in attendance.
Mark Scott, who is in his first year coaching the Aquatomics, said that he has been impressed with how hard the swimmers are willing to work, and it showed in the results.
“We were well over 80 percent personal bests in the first meet of the year,” Scott said.
He added that the Aquatomics are beginning to keep up with some of the top teams in the state, and that the positive culture change in the locker room among the swimmers has been noticeable.
“They don’t even look like the same people in the water anymore,” Scott said. “They are beginning to look pretty impressive.”
Some of the best swims of the meet came from Ming Lo, who finished in first place in the mixed 11-and-over 200 breaststroke, with a time of 2:38.06. With that time, he qualified for sectionals at 13 years old, the youngest he can attend the meet.
“That was an exceptional swim right there,” Scott said.
Scott, who has coached swimming at various levels since 1978, said he has only had seven or eight swimmers qualify for sectionals out of the thousands with whom he has worked. It is a regional meet that is used to qualify for the national level of competition.
Lo also had two other top-five finishes, as he finished second in the mixed 9-and-over 200 individual medley and fourth in the mixed 100 breast.
Also putting together an extremely strong meet was Julia Quernemoen, who earned three Western Zone qualifying times, and had a pair of top-five finishes. She finished in third place in the mixed 12-and-under 50 back with a time of 36.40 seconds, and fifth in the mixed 12-and-under 50 butterfly with a time of 34.34 seconds.
Scott also pointed out Fayrouz Mourad, who finished in first place in the mixed 12-and-under 50 breast, with a time of 39.40 seconds, 10 seconds faster than his previous best.
While he specifically pointed out those swimmers, Scott said that he has been impressed with the improvement of all of the other swimmers, who have improved greatly in recent months and show no signs of stopping.
“It’s a lot of fun to watch,” Scott said.
Other strong swimmers from the meet included Ian Jaegers, who finished with six top-10 finishes, Max Corliss, who had five top-10 finishes and Andy Corliss, who had a pair of top-10 finishes.
Orion Henderson finished in second place in the mixed 11-and-over 400 freestyle, and Duncan Henderson finished in second place in the mixed 12-and-under 50 backstroke.
Konstantin Nelson had the most top-10 finishes on the team, with seven.
He also had five top-five finishes, including third place finishes in the mixed 11-and-over 200 butterfly and the mixed 9-and-over 200 individual medley.
The Aquatomics’ next meet will be May 31-June 3, when the team travels to Scottsdale, Arizona, to square off in a competitive Long-Course meet against teams from around the US and Canada.