July 26, 2011
Well, the goal was placed before the kids and they took hold of earning Top 10 and sure enough Desert Thunder closed the 2011 Long Course Age Group State Champs in 10thplace, well ahead of 11th, and closing in on the 9thplace team.
Individual point totals were led by Ellinore Duncan as she tripled as the 11-12 Arizona State Champion in the 50, 100, and 200 breaststrokes. She also was a Top 16 finisher in all three of her freestyle events. Her times for the 50 and 100 breaststroke broke team records, while her 200 breast time barely missed the team record. Currently, she is ranked nationally for 12 year olds 11thin the 50 breast, 4thin the 100 breast, and 7thin the 200 breast. Duncan earned Senior Sectional qualifications in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes.
The final night of state was the strongest for Desert Thunder of the whole meet. The team had 16 splashes (individual swims) in the session, including relays. Relays were tremendous point getters as all our 200 Free relay and 400 Medley relays scored on the final day. The Girls’ 12 & Under 200 Free Relay of Diana Gomez, Ericka Boeger, Marina McInelly, and Duncan swam within four tenths of a second of the team record which was just set back in May. The highest scoring relay of the entire meet was the 12 & Under Boys’ 200 Free Relay of Jacob Garcia, Archie Spindler, Gabe Rangel, and Finn Lynch. They finished 6thoverall. Keep in mind, three of these lads are still 11 :-)
In the 50 Back the Thunder were represented by 6 team members. Leading it off was Dylan Edge who snuck into finals while being an unlikely seed before the meet. Next was Ericka Boeger who moved up in rank and blasted her best time. Finn Lynch and Jacob Garcia both raced in the 11-12 boys division. Garcia made his first visit to the podium with a 3rdplace finish in the 50 back. His effort was his second team record of the day on the same event. Ally Padilla faced the toughest heat in all the 50 backs to finish 5thin a tightly contested race. And Levi Siwek finished off the 50 Backs with his first swim under 34 seconds and a 13thplace finish.
Boeger led off the 50 Free for DTAC with a huge time drop and advanced from 15thto 11thplace. Garcia almost matched his preliminary swim to hold onto 6th. Padilla raced another tight field to hold onto 7th.
Besides Duncan’s victory in the 200 breast, the team had strong support in the event by Diana Gomez and Marina McInelly. Gomez swim a lifetime best in the first 100 of her race, while matching her lifetime best in the 200 set that very same morning. McInelly was an unlikely contender in the event, but made it in anyway with a drop of 9 seconds in prelims and then raced out of 16thinto 15thin the finals, while dropping an additional second.
Phi Nguyen brought was has been referred to as her “Phi Madness” to the 200 breast and moved up in position and dropped time in the finals. Phi was the leader of three girls who all finished in the 3:02 range.
Closing out the individual swims was Desert Thunder’s favorite war horse, Andrew Rangel. Sore, but lively, Rangel raced to a 2 second drop from what was an 8 second drop in his prelim time, advancing from 15thto 14th.
Congratulations to a team that has done what Desert Thunder Age Groupers have been unable to do for at least half a decade… finish in the Top 10 in state! The team worked hard and earned the right to be proud of this accomplishment. Plenty of work lies ahead to keep climbing the ranks. Great job, Desert Thunder!