Sports — 25 April 2014
Martin Gallegos
Staff Writer

The LPC swim and dive team was on a mission to close the year out strong this past weekend at Chabot College and they did just that.

It was medals galore for the squad, 14 in all, as they were able to shatter multiple school records at the Conference Championships.

Even though LPC will be well represented at the state championships, Head Coach Jason Craighead is pleased with the performance from everyone who competed at Chabot.

“There were a lot of swimmers who exceeded our expectations,” Craighead said. “That was awesome to see.”

One of those swimmers Craighead was pleased with was freshman Azero Alcala. Having never been a part of a swim team until college, Alcala did not qualify for state, but he did meet his goals both for the season and the last meet of the season.

“I feel very accomplished,” Alcala said. “I made top eight fastest swimmers for two of my events. I haven’t been swimming for very long so reaching that goal is inspiring for me.”

Alcala credits his teammates for his success this season.

“Seeing my teammates break records motivates me to go faster,” Alcala said.

While Alcala will not be participating at the state championships, he will be cheering on his fellow teammates who will be there, including sophomore Chris Mowry, who he expects to win medals.

Mowry fell just short of qualifying for state last season and made it a goal of his to make it this year and wash that bitter taste out of his mouth. Well, he achieved that goal and then some, finishing in the top three of three different events. Mowry says he just had a good vibe heading into the meet.

“I felt like I exceeded my expectations,” Mowry said. “It felt like a different mindset this time than any other meet I’ve been at.”

Mowry was quick to direct credit to his coaches and teammates when asked the reason for his stellar performance. He will look to carry the momentum into the biggest meet of the season down in Los Angeles at State Championships. Mowry will be competing in the 100 and 200 breaststroke events.

“I’m hoping to beat my records and hopefully set some school records,” Mowry said. “I’m just going to give it 150 percent and see what happens.”

Among the records broken were the men’s 100-yard fly, with a time of 53.04 turned in by Austin Johnson and new school records for the men’s relay team in the 200 and 800 medley relays.

Joining Mowry in East Los Angeles will be Justin Stafford, Donna Rotella and the men’s free relay team. Stafford finished in first place in his 50-yard free event with a time of 21.37.

Rotella comes as perhaps the most surprising, making it as a diver in just her freshman year. Her qualifying for state does not come as a surprise to her coaches.

“She broke school records in both of her events at the diving championships,” Craighead said. “She’s had a great first year.”

With all the qualifying meets in the books, the swimmers will not have much time to celebrate. They must now prepare for the biggest meet of the year: State Championships. The three-day event goes on from May 1-3 at East Los Angeles College. 557 swimmers will be competing, so to say competition will be stiff would be an understatement.

“We did not meet all our goals but overall it was a good meet,” Craighead said. “It’s been a growing process and now we’re ready to go for state.”

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