Ana Paula Cardenas Guerra is going where no Del Rio High School swimmer has ever gone before.
She’s headed to state.
The junior earned Del Rio’s first ever state berth by winning the girls 200-yard freestyle race at the Region VIII 6A Championship this past weekend at the Margaret M. Clark Aquatic Center in Brownsville. She also took second in the 500-yard freestyle race.
The top two finishers in each event in each region automatically qualified for the state meet.
Prior to Cardenas Guerra, the closest Del Rio High ever came to having a swimmer compete at state was in 2016 when then-senior Wolfgang von Aspe finished second in the 100 backstroke. He was also the last multi-medalist at the meet as he was third in the 200-yard individual medley. At that time, only the event winners and fastest qualifying times could compete at state.
This year’s state meet is set for Feb. 14-15 at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin. Semifinals will be held Feb. 14 and finals will be Feb. 15.
Cardenas Guerra was one of several Del Rio swimmers to compete at the regional meet this past weekend.
She won the 200-yard freestyle in 2:00.23, nearly one and a half seconds faster than the next closest competitor, Edith Martinez from Laredo Alexander. Cardenas Guerra saved her best for the finals, shaving nearly five seconds off her top time in the preliminaries.
Martinez got the better of Cardenas Guerra in the 500-yard freestyle, beating her by nearly nine seconds. Martinez, a sophomore, finished first in 5:18.14 while Cardenas Guerra was second in 5:27.07. Both swimmers improved their times from the preliminaries with Martinez picking up nine seconds while Cardenas Guerra improved by seven seconds.
The rest of Del Rio’s results from the regional meet are as follows:
Del Rio’s team of sophomore Selina Lopez, freshman Chanceine Saechao, freshman Nevaeh Martinez and sophomore Viviane Salinas Mejia was 11th in 2:25.98. The team qualified ninth in preliminaries in 2:16.43, but Cardenas Guerra swam in place of Lopez.
Boys 200-yard Medley Relay
Del Rio’s team of senior Juan Gallegos, sophomore Athan Zertuche, sophomore Manuel Delgado Gaona and junior Rico Perez finished 16th in 2:02.45. They were 15th in preliminaries in 2:00.33.
Perez just missed qualifying for the finals in the event, finishing nine one-hundredths of a second out of the final spot at 24.24 seconds during preliminaries.
Delgado Gaona finished preliminaries in 24.45 and did not qualify for the finals as well.
Martinez finished 11th in 1:16.77. She was ninth in the preliminaries in 1:14.27.
The team of Saechao, sophomore Michaela Hudson, Salinas Mejia and Martinez was 14th in 2:10.26. They were also 14th in the preliminaries, finishing in 2:09.36.
Boys 200-yard Freestyle Relay
The team of Delgado Gaona, sophomore David Delgado, Gallegos and Perez was 12th in a time of 1:42.03. The team was also 12th in preliminaries in 1:41.39.
The team of Martinez, Salinas Mejia, Sarchao and Cardenas Guerra was 10th in 4:32.86. The team was also 10th in the preliminaries in a time of 4:32.37.
As a team, the Queens finished 12th out of 23 schools participating at the meet. The Rams finished 19th out of 21 schools participating.