Morenci swims into history Thursday

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Senior Emily Lundeen takes some practice laps. The inaugural swim meet for Morenci’s first-ever swim team was scheduled for Thursday. 

By Raymundo Frasquillo:

TUCSON – They will not look like multi-Olympic gold medal draped Mark Spitz after their first meet, but Morenci’s swim team is ready to compete Thursday. School history will be written as the times and placements will become school records, a bar to meet or break throughout the season, for others to match or re-set in the years to come.

“I think it’s cool to be part of the first high school swim team (at Morenci),” senior Emily Lundeen said. “I love it, it’s fun, and I enjoy it”

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Senior Emily Lundeen readies herself.

“I’m excited (to compete),” the 4th-year Wildcat said. First-year MHS head coach Eric Waananen is “nervous” following a practice session on the eve of the meet. His final words to the 10 Wildcats were to read the papers he handed out and pack all their gear that night.

The inaugural team headed out Thursday for the Fort Lowell Park Pool in Tucson to compete in its initial meet. A triangular with San Manuel and the Gregory School was scheduled to start at 4 p.m.

When school ended in May, Lundeen had no idea there would be a team or that she would be part of the newly formed program. The district governing board approved the program in its July meeting.

“I never thought I would do it,” she said. She is enrolled in college classes through the school and thought she may not have enough time to devote to the team.

“I was scared at first. I wanted to do as many things as I could and be good at something. My parents encouraged me to go out.”

Lundeen has been an integral member of the award-winning Pride Band and a lifeguard at the Morenci Pool for three years. She learned to swim at age seven or eight.

“It’s easy to swim,” she said, “as long as you tell yourself you can do it.”

The practice sessions were delayed during the first two weeks because of lightning. “We were behind early,” Lundeen said.

“I’m looking forward to the season. We’re going to have fun.”

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Emily Lundeen catches her breath during practice.

Joining Lundeen on the team are senior transfer Taylee Bayardo; sophomores Jadah Cortez, Savanna Titone, and Izabel Urangourig; and freshman Zenayah Cortez.

A boys’ foursome includes sophomores Israel Bernal, Jazper Brooks, and Thaddeus Gray, and freshman David Marquez.

Morenci is one of 59 Division III schools fielding a swim team this season.