Jan. 12, 2013
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The stage was set for the four Lobo seniors, swimming in the final home meet of their careers, to shine. As first year head coach Kunio Kono said three days prior to the meet "this is their show," and put on a show they did. Alyssa Keill, Lindsey Morris, Hayley Martin and Aubrey Bush and the rest of the Lobo team dominated from the first horn and defeated the Antelopes of Grand Canyon University 131-122. The win brings the Lobos' record to 4-3.
The meet started on a high note for UNM as it took first and second place in the 200 yard medley relay. Stelicia Flores, Ashley Blanchette, Jorgi Hobson and Shayla King were first with a time of 1:45.52; they were followed by Julia Carroll, Morris, Samantha Moss and April Chee who touched the wall in 1:48.27.
Morris then went on to win the 100 yard breaststoke with a final time of 1:06.97, fellow senior Hayley Martin came in third, clocking a time of 1:06.97.
"Coming in to the meet we really tried to not think about it too much," said Morris. "We just wanted to come out and race and have a good time. Having good training and a good coach behind us is a great feeling. It's a little surreal that we only got to experience it for one year, but I'm glad we did."
The Lobo victories kept coming throughout the day as they swept the 50 yard freestyle, 1 meter board, 200 yard backstroke, 200 yard breaststroke and 3 meter board.
King, who already had a first place finish in the 200 yard medley relay, swam the 50 yards in 24.04 to take first over Stacey Rudman of Grand Canyon who was second with a time of 24.55. Junior Julia Carroll's time of 2:07.28 was good for a first place finish in the 200 yard back; she was followed by Caitlin Gardiner and Amber Amr who finished second and third, respectively.
The multiple first place finishes throughout the meet had many Lobos with smiles on their faces and it was something the seniors treasured.
"I was super excited for today but it's also sad to know that this was the last home meet with my other seniors," said Martin. "I'm happy that I'm made it through the last four years, and we've really come together as a team a lot more and we're more competitive. It's awesome having the other seniors with me and I'm sad it's ending."
The seniors may have been feeling a bit blue about their last bow in Seidler Natatorium, but that did not slow them or the rest of the team down.
Freshman Kristin Walker swam the 200 yard breaststroke in 2:26.18 to grab another first place finish for UNM; Morris was a very close second with a time of 2:26.48. Alyssa Keill was third clocking a time of 2:2.78. Off the 1 meter board, Michole Timm had what was by far her best performance of the season. The sophomore turned in a score of 347.48 to come in first and set a new school record in that event.** With her performance, Timm surpasses the mark set by former diver and All-American Ashlee Erickson who scored a school record 337.20 points in 2010.
Junior Megan Harper had a record setting performance of her own off the 3 meter. The native of Phoenix, Ariz. scored a school record score of 370.65** to break the previous record score of 365.55 which was held by former Lobo great Becca Barras.
"It's been a tough year for us," Sanchez said. "We started the year off with eight divers and we're down to two, but Megan and Michole are diving incredibly well. I'm really proud of them for stepping up to the plate and performing so well."
Following the 3 meter dive, the underclassmen put on a show for the seniors and fans alike as they presented a synchronized swimming routine. Broken up by classes with the freshmen going first, the routine provided the crowd with laughs and one of those memories the seniors won't soon forget.
The last two events of the day saw New Mexico place first and add to their lead one last time. Anna Lilliestrom and Morris tied for first in the 200 yard individual medley as they both touched the wall in 2:11.70. Hobson, Chee, King and Ashley Blanchette came in second in the 200 yard free relay with a time of 1:37.46.
"The team has a lot of fight in it this year," said Keill. "We dominated most of the events today and that was awesome for us. This year has been really positive for me and we're having a lot more fun, it's been a really great year."
The Lobos have three more regular season meets before the Mountain West conference championships and those three meets, along with the meets that follow, are filled with opportunities to make this year even greater.