Olympian swimmers and divers make a splash at state meet

Steve Trader

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The Mesa swimming and diving team has become pretty accustomed to attending the California State Championships over the years, and this year they once again found themselves in familiar territory.

On the women’s side, state finalist qualifiers included returning finalist Jeanette Islas, along with Chelsea Gadzia Megan Looney, Leah Mitchell, and Emily Pool.

The women’s 200 and 400-meter medley relay teams each kicked the weekend off with a third place finish. Emily Pool was the top singles event finisher, grabbing third place in the 50-meter breaststroke. Megan Looney was the lone diving qualifier, competing in both the 1 and 3-meter diving competitions. The team came away with an eighth place finish overall.

Looney, Pool, Gadzia, Mitchell and Islas as well as Kayla Ahlberg, Tiffany Forester, Olivia Grice, and Becky Tran each earned an All Conference award for their outstanding season. Pool and Islas shared the most valuable player team award, while Mitchell was named team most improved player, and Gadzia walked away with the coach’s award.

The men’s team, while not as successful at state as the females, still managed a strong showing. As a team they finished in 12th place. Armin Assadyari, Jorge Carranza, Kenny Oredina, Dennis Swart, and Ryan Sweat all qualified as state finalists. Oredina, the lone returning state qualifier on the team, had another successful state campeign with a fourth place finish in the 100-meter breaststroke.

Several of the men’s team members got the nod for an All Conference award including

Assadyari, Oredina, Sweat, Carranza and Swart as well as Luis Azurdia, Kerry Bekkedahl, Rainer Martinez, and Soheil Sassani. The most valuable team member award went to Carranza, most improved player award went to Sweat, and Bekkedahl earned himself the coach’s award.

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