"Ever since the cross country season ended, I've been swimming nonstop, sometimes practicing five or six hours a day," said Cardenas, one of the top five runners on the Wildcats' cross country team.
On Thursday in her team's 95-56 Imperial Valley League victory over Central, Cardenas won the 200-yard freestyle in 2 minutes, 12.4 seconds, the 100-yard butterfly in 1:05.4, teamed with Brooke Pace, Lauren Roberts and Stephanie Luckey to take the 200-yard medley relay and hooked up with Erica Smith, Tracy King and her younger sister Natalia Cardenas to win the 400-yard freestyle relay in 4:09.88.
"Last week against Central, I was pretty nervous about it because it was our first home meet and I was swimming against family and friends," said Cardenas. "I've swam I don't know how many meets before in front of friends and family, but for some reason I was nervous out there."
Her nerves didn't seem to phase her as she won all her events and followed that with another perfect performance at Escondido.
In the team's 90-80 win over Escondido on Friday, she won the 200 free in 2:11.78 — breaking her old school record — the 100 butterfly in 1:05.92 and was a member of the winning 200 medley relay team, which won in 2:04.27 and part of the winning 400 free relay team that took first in 4:08.88.
"I think if there's anything that's driven me this year, it's that second place I took against Cathedral City. Whenever I go out there, that's always in the back of my mind," said Cardenas. "So I use that when I'm competing. Our team motto is ‘Swim like a fish, fight like a lobster,' and that's how I approach each meet."