The Socorro Warriors swim team had their last meet of the season Saturday. Eight students competed.
Submitted photo


In a special guest story, we get the view from the pool as swim team member Rio Sessions shares his team’s experience at the district meet in Albuquerque Saturday.

Since November, the Warriors swim team has been working hard to forge an excellent season. This past weekend, we prepared to finish it off with a shining cap at the district meet held in the Albuquerque Academy Natatorium. With freezing water ahead of us and months of training behind us, the team reached new heights.

Every single one of the eight team members at this meet were able to achieve personal records or contributed to setting new records for a relay team. While nobody qualified for state, everyone had something to be proud of when they walked away that afternoon.

The girls’ Medley Relay (Shay Vanlandingham on backstroke, Sky Sessions on breaststroke, Mia Tenorio on butterfly, and Christin Armijo on freestyle) kicked off the streak with the very first event. After the first buzzer, they took turns barreling though the water to reach the wall with a time 9.19 seconds faster than their best. And that was just the start.

When the girls’ 50-yard freestyle came around, Eryn Esquibel, Shay Vanlandingham, Sky Sessions, and Mia Tenorio all swam, either dropping time from their previous best or swimming within a tenth of a second of their best. When Tig Baker, Cody Johnston and I all followed with the boys’ 50 free, we each managed to drop time from the previous best, some by nearly a full second (which is significant for such a short distance).

At this point, we’ve just reached the halftime break. Already, every swimmer has made or contributed to a personal record.

Picking up after the break, as the exhausted 100 butterfly swimmers exited the water, Christin, Mia, and Shay lined up behind the blocks to swim the 100-yard freestyle. None of them knew yet that after four laps, when they finally hit the touchpad, they would all have beat their previous time by more than a second. And after them, Tig would do the same, beating his time by nearly a second.

The girls’ freestyle relay, made up of Sky, Shay, Eryn, and Mia, would dive in next, achieving another spectacular record, dropping their time by an astounding 9.90 seconds.

Following them, the 100-yard backstroke entered the water. Eryn and I swam this event, both cutting off time from the previous meet.

Wrapping up the day, Christin, Sky, and Cody all swam in the 100-yard breaststroke, achieving impressive speeds (breaststroke is factually the worst stroke, yes—I have absolutely no bias against it for any reason, no).

Immediately after the conclusion of the event, Cody slipped off into a deserted gym to compete in his last virtual Science Olympiad regional competition, as I had done during warm-up that morning.

This meet had been an excellent close to an outstanding season. The drop in times may be one thing that shows this. But more, the transformation of every team member over the season, as they persevered through nightly practices from 6:15 to 8 p.m. is something amazing in itself.

I’m tremendously proud of our team’s performance this season, especially as such a small group. The future is bright for Warriors swimmers.

Rio Sessions, Socorro High School swim team