FARMINGTON — The top young swimmers from across the state converged on the Farmington Aquatic Center this past weekend.
The Four Corners Aquatic Team hosted the New Mexico Swimming 10-and-under championships on Saturday and Sunday.
"Every year, we have the meet at a different location," said Four Corners Aquatic coach Karen McKay. "We were honored to host it this year."
In all, 203 swimmers, including eight from San Juan County, participated in the event.
The top finisher among local competitors was Desmond McKay, who finished fourth in the six-and-under 50-meter freestyle.
State records fell in the girls' 50-meter backstroke and the girls' and boys' 200-meter freestyle relays.
Karen McKay said that more important than times or records is the experience the swimmers gain competing at events like this a young age.
"We can't guess what a swimmer doesn't know. We refine their skills, but until a child makes a mistake we can't fix it. There's always a mistake and after some positive reinforcement, we can give them one thing to work on for next time," she said.
Along with the big meet experience, the kids learn important nuances that go along with the sport.
"It's also that essential they learn etiquette at a meet in warmups," McKay said. "They may have 30 children warming up in a lane, and they have to learn to be kind and be safe. They learn good sportsmanship -- how to react when they win and lose. They also learn to organize themselves -- how to politely ask when they'll be racing or what lane assignments they may have so they don't miss their race."
McKay is hopeful that Farmington and the Four Corners Aquatic Team will continue to be able to host large meets in the future and thinks the community would benefit from larger races coming to town.
"It's huge, we're talking about 150 families staying here for two nights. For our city, it's just a huge financial benefit," she said. "It will take some teamwork. The aquatic center is on board, and we could use sponsors from around the community to help as well. It's quite a financial endeavor. We're a non-profit organization, so we don't have a lot of the up-front money."
Joshua Perry covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at jperrysuu.