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Russell-Cheung earns second straight Rotary honor
In three years at Cibola, Andrew Russell-Cheung has done it all.
He still has a year left to find out what else he's capable of.
The Raider junior finished ninth in the state swimming championships in the 100-meter breaststroke this year. He also dominated Gila Valley Region competition, setting two records at the region meet.
He was named the Yuma Sun/Yuma Rotary Club 2010 All-Region Boys Swimmer of the Year, the second year in a row he has won the award.
With a new qualification process, getting to the state tournament was much harder than in years past. But Russell-Cheung hit the qualifying marks in the 100 breast and took ninth, finishing in 1 minute, 1.07 seconds.
For the year, Russell-Cheung said he was very pleased not only in his breaststroke, but how he handled the 200-meter individual medley.
“I was expecting to go a little faster in my 100 breast,” Russell-Cheung said. “But my IM was about where I wanted it to be. So it turned out pretty good.”
Russell-Cheung not only set the region mark in the 100 breast (1:01.93), toppling his own record, but he also broke the region's 200 IM mark (2:05.53).
“He got faster in everything, especially the IM,” coach Richard McClure said. “He set the new region record that had been standing for quite awhile. It was exciting to see him break someone else's record. He's getting stronger in every single stroke and is just doing great.”
McClure said next year could see a renewed emphasis on freestyle events. Last year, Russell-Cheung finished 14th at state in the 200 free but didn't compete in any freestyle races this season.
Russell-Cheung said his focus will remain on the breaststroke, although he does look forward to returning to freestyle. He also added that the move would come a year too late because it would've set up a much-anticipated showdown with Kofa senior Jonathan Duran, who took ninth in state this year in the 50 free. Duran also set numerous region marks throughout his prep career.
“We never got to swim against each other this year,” Russell-Cheung said. “I really wanted it to. It just didn't happen.”
However, he has plenty of other goals set for 2011. As for the malaise that can sometimes set in for senior athletes, Russell-Cheung said he doesn't fear that happening.
“Swimming is my life basically, with school and family and all that,” Russell-Cheung said. “So it's not that hard for me to stay focused. I swim all year. It really is a main priority.”