ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Lobos’ Swimming and Diving team are back in the water this weekend after a few weeks of Winter Break and time from competition. New Mexico showed their strength for the New Year and continuation of the season by taking first at the Florida International Invite with an overall score of 554.
New Mexico finished first in 4 out of 15 events and took several other important places that led to their ultimate victory over numerous competitors: FIU, FAU, EMU, UNF, Duquesne, Old Dominion, Grand Valley, College of Saint Rose, and Coe College.
The team of Kaela McKee, Ashley Blanchette, Jorgi Hobson, and Shayla King started the meet off on top by taking first in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:47.66.
The Lobos claimed third place in the same event with the team of Amber Amr, Kristin Walker, Samantha Moss, and April Chee finishing at 1:48.91.
Monica Dudley came in for fourth in two events when she touched the wall at 1:56.48 in the 200-yard freestyle and finished at 5:10.80 in the 500-yard freestyle.
McKee contributed towards two additional first place titles as she finished first in the 100-yard backstroke and 50-yard backstroke at 57.78 and 27.23, respectively.
Amber Amr also took a title in the 100-yard backstroke by placing third with a time of 59.65.
Senior swimmer Ashley Blanchette finished third in two events while competing at FIU. She clocked in at 1:06.79 in the 100-yard breaststroke and 31.17 in the 50-yard breaststroke.
Another third place finish was taken by Mckee in the 50-yard butterfly as she finished with a time of 26.10. Hobson came in shortly after for fourth place at 26.74.
New Mexico came in third place for two more events; Heidi Zeiger in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 54.02 and in the 200-yard freestyle relay with the team of Blanchette, Zeiger, Anna Lilliestrom and Caitlin Gardiner finishing at 1:39.25.
Shayla King brought in another first place finish for the Lobos in the 50-yard freestyle clocking in at 24.18.
“They are focusing on what they need to do and seeing their goals for February at the MWC Championships. At the FIU meet, it was tough. Physically they were hammered from the last few days of training and the weather was not that great in an outdoor pool. However, our girls stepped up really well and every single swimmer competed well and was tough in their races”, says Coach Kono at the finale of the meet.
Coach Kono describes his team as “excited, passionate, and energized” for the remainder of the season and expects that the athletes will have both great performances and experiences in the upcoming months of competition.
The Lobos will hit the road again for a meet on Fri, Jan. 17 in Denver, Colo. Competition will begin for divers at 2:00 pm and for swimmers at 4:00 pm MT.