Over the Valentine’s Day weekend, the senior group for the AquaMonsters found themselves traveling to sunny San Diego to represent their team in the San Diego Imperial Swimming Senior Invite, on Coronado Island. This is a high level meet that AQM used to give some of their swimmers an opportunity to swim rested in an effort to get best times and race competitively. And for a few of their athletes, it was a meet meant to prep for NCSA Junior Nationals which they will compete at later this month.
AQM opened the meet on Friday night with Mia Motekaitis, Cody Hargadon, and Annie Brennan all competing in the 1000 yard freestyle. All three dropped significant amounts of time, highlighted by Motekaitis’ 42 second drop, where she finished 10th overall in a time of 10:24.96.
Motekaitis found more success the next day, taking eighth overall in the 500 yard freestyle. She later placed 15th in the 200 yard backstroke. Kyla Leacox, took seventh in the 200 yard individual medley as well as the 100 yard breaststroke and 18th in the 50 yard freestyle to cap off a tough finals session. Hargadon wound up 9th in the 50 freestyle. On the boys side that night, Ben Hedman also had a tough session, swimming the 200 IM, 500 free and 200 back, posting best times in each.
Sunday was highlighted by Motekaitis having to swim off in the 100 yard backstroke in order to earn a place in the consolation final. She dropped three seconds from her prelims swim, blowing her opponent out of the water and also earning herself a time standard in the event for Junior Nationals. Hargadon followed that up by earning her own time standard for Juniors in the 200 yard freestyle later that evening. All the while Leacox and Hedman continued their challenging schedules, ending the night with finals swims in the 400 individual medley. Hedman went on to place eleventh overall and finishing with a best time. Brennan also had one of her top swims of the meet in the grueling 400 IM.
The final day of the meet was Monday where Haradon punched her ticket to Juniors in Orlando by earning her third time standard in the 100 yard freestyle. Leacox earned a time standard in the 200 breaststroke a short while later in the session and finished 5th in the event. The 200 breaststroke proved to be one of the best events of the weekend for AQM with Elle Motekaitis, Nikki Adkins, Hedman, Leacox and Hargadon all posting best times in the event. And Emma Kaplan finished her weekend with 100 percent best times with a strong swim in the 100 yard freestyle.
“Overall it was a very positive meet for the team. Mia and Kyla essentially got some good training in with their tough event lineups and everyone else swam very well,” said coach, Matt Crawford. “We swam better as an overall group than we have in a while.”