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Cardenas continues to shine for Brawley

May 01, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer
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At first glance Brawley Union High School swimmer Jennifer Cardenas appears to be as serene and harmless as a goldfish.

Once it's time to compete, the shark in her emerges and anyone challenging soon becomes another victim to Brawley's sophomore swimming sensation.

The 15-year-old Cardenas continued her winning ways last week, winning three events in the Wildcats' 124-42 shellacking of Southwest on Thursday in Imperial Valley League action.

She won the 200-meter individual medley in 2 minutes, 30.39 seconds, the 100 butterfly in 1:06.48 and teamed with Stephanie Luckey, Brooke Pace and Lauren Roberts to take the 200 medley relay in 2:05.22.

With only one day's rest, Cardenas and her teammates competed Saturday in the 25-team Palm Springs Invitational, which included schools from the San Diego and Los Angeles areas.

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Swimming against some of the best competition she's seen all year, Cardenas finished with three top-six finishes.

Each event was divided into heats, with 50 swimmers in each event. Cardenas' best finish was in the 200 individual medley, where she took fifth place in 2:32.51. She took sixth in the 100 butterfly in 1:04.79 and teamed with Luckey, Pace and Roberts to finish sixth in the 200 medley relay in 2:02.09.

"I was really proud of myself for doing as well as I did at Palm Springs. At first I wasn't really happy with taking fifth and sixth because I'm used to getting first place, but then (coach) D'Ann (Luckey) told me how well I actually did," said Cardenas. "I think the competition really helped me do as well as I did because they kept pushing me.

"I actually swam in the last heat in my events, which is where all the good swimmers were. So I think getting put in the last heats showed how good I actually am. And I just wanted to go in there and show them what Brawley is all about," Cardenas said.

This year the Brawley girls swim team has been the most dominant in the Imperial Valley as it has compiled a 10-0-1 overall record and a 5-0 mark in the IVL, in part because of Cardenas. Cardenas has qualified for the CIF San Diego Section postseason in the 100 butterfly and has CIF consideration times in the 200 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 100 freestyle, 100 backstroke and 100 breaststroke.

Said Wildcat coach Nancy Kellogg: "Jennifer is a very dependable swimmer. She can swim in any event and be the best at it. She is very dedicated and is a hard worker.

"We are not surprised at all with how well she's doing. We knew her freshman year that she would be a tremendous asset to this team. And so far she's become a big part of the core of this team. Jennifer has been very successful and we don't expect anything less from her."

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