Beals carries flag for Bobcats at state

Beals finishes 23rd in 50 free; Ames wins title

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown senior Zoe Beals, right, leads the Marshalltown procession during the parade of athletes before competition during the second day of the Iowa Girls’ High School State Swimming and Diving Championships on Saturday. Beals finished 23rd in the 50-yard freestyle, the only Bobcat swimmer to compete on Saturday.

Four years of competition, four years of hard work, it all came to a head on Saturday afternoon for Marshalltown senior Zoe Beals, who competed in her final swimming event of her high school career in the 50-yard freestyle race at the Iowa Girls’ High School State Swimming Championships.

Beals has competed in three state meets before, swimming four events her sophomore year and two her freshman season at the Marshalltown YMCA/YWCA, but all of her career was distilled down to less than 30 seconds of racing when the starter released the second heat of the 50 free.

After a start, a turn and a finish, Beals looked up to see she swam a time of 25.55 seconds, good enough for fourth in her heat and 23rd overall. After she was done, Beals said though she didn’t improve her time from her qualifying race in regionals, she was happy with the way she swam on the day.

“I’m not upset about my time, I feel great,” she said. “I felt great in the water, everything felt good, I was pretty content with how I swam, no matter what the time was. It was an honor to swim here for my last time and my last meet and to be done. Oh well about the time, I am still happy with what I did.”

Marshalltown head coach Angie Nelson, who received the 20 Year Service Award from the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union prior to the start of the meet, said her senior competed well and it was a good way to send her out.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown senior Zoe Beals comes out of the turn and starts her sprint for the finish during the 50-yard freestyle race on Saturday in the Iowa Girls’ High School State Swimming and Diving Championships.

“Zoe swam a great race, she had a great start, super streamlined off that start, she swam through the turn and was doing a great job,” Nelson said. “She stayed with the field really well all through the race and touched with a nice, long finished, so she did the things that she had to do. I think she may be slightly disappointed with that time, but that was end to her career.”

Beals has left her mark on Marshalltown swimming, as the scoreboard in the Linda Bloom Natatorium bares her name on multiple event records, and after she stepped out of that pool for the last time, she said it still hadn’t quite sunk in that her Bobcat career was over.

“It’s crazy, I still don’t think I’ve come to the realization that I’m actually completely done and I’m not going to be coming back,” she said. “I mean, I don’t know, it feels pretty good to be done I guess after some long years of swimming for forever. It feels sad, but I’m sure I will be back to watch plenty of swim meets, there’s no way I can stay away from the pool.”

Another set of seniors went finished up their season in the best way possible on Saturday, as the Ames swimming and diving team won its seventh championship in the last eight years.

Senior Sophie Sorenson was the standout for the Little Cyclones, winning the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke, breaking her own state record in the latter, and playing a big role on the Ames relay teams that won the 200 and 400 free relays.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Ames assistant coach Joe Fisher, right, leaps into the pool to join the Little Cyclones athletes after Ames won its seventh Iowa Girls’ High School State Swimming and Diving championship in the last eight years on Saturday.

Though she finished her career with three-straight state titles, Sorenson said this final title has a special meaning.

“It’s different, it feels really good to be able to say I won all the races I was in today,” she said. “It was exciting because I kinda went undefeated this season, which I thought was a big deal. Every time it just feels so good, it never gets old.”

Ames head coach Dan Flannery said what Sorenson accomplished during the meet individually was incredible, and as a whole all of his seniors deserved to go out like this.

“It was a real special thing to see a senior win four events at the state meet, that’s not easy to do,” Flannery said. “All my seniors today, they just did a great job and they’ve seen it all. As freshmen they lost this meet by eight points and they’ve won the last three, they’ve worked really hard to get into the position they are in and it’s just been really fun to have them.”

Sorenson was named the Co-IGHSAU Swimming Athlete of the Year, along with Berit Quass from Dowling Catholic, and she said she couldn’t have picked a better group of girls to share the victory with.

“It was super exciting, I love my team so much and I’m sad this was my last year, but I am so glad I got to be here with them today,” she said.

Including diving, Ames took first in seven of the 12 events over the weekend, giving them a commanding 384 team points, over 100 points higher than second-place finisher Dowling Catholic.

Flannery has coached this Ames team to new heights, as they had never won the state title before the first of this recent run in 2010, and he said something about this win was just a little sweeter than his other six.

“Not to take anything away from my other six titles I’ve won with the Ames girls teams, but this one was fun from start to finish and definitely rewarding from the standpoint of us winning last year,” he said. We set goals to work hard and get better, and we got better.”

Iowa Girls’ High School State Swimming Championships

At Marshalltown YMCA/YWCA

Team Standings — 1. Ames 384, 2. Dowling Catholic 271.5, 3. Bettendorf 203.5, 4. Ankeny 171, 5. Cedar Falls 162, 6. Waukee 160, 7. Pleasant Valley 140.5, 8. Iowa City West 98, 9. Atlantic 85, 10. Dubuque Wahlert 84, 11. Cedar Rapids Washington 80, 12. West Des Moines Valley 71, 13. Lewis Central 64.5, 14. Johnston 58, 15. Dubuque Senior 52, 16. Iowa City High 36, 17. Des Moines Lincoln 28, 18. Vinton-Shellsburg 24, 18. Waterloo 24, 20. Southeast Polk 22, 21. Fort Dodge 21, 22. Des Moines Roosevelt 14, 23. Decorah 13, 24. Davenport West 12, 25. Linn-Mar 10, 26. Sioux City Metro 9, 27. Newton 7, 28. Marshalltown 6, 28. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 6, 30. Spencer 4, 31. Cedar Rapids Jefferson 3, 32. Des Moines Hoover 1.


(* — denotes new state record)

200 MEDLEY RELAY — 1. Ames (Galvin, Winer, Moulden, Sorenson) 1:44.59.

200 FREESTYLE — 1. Clare Culver, Dowling Catholic, 1:49.86.

200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY — 1. Sophie Sorenson, Ames, 2:03.53.

50 FREESTYLE — 1. Jasmine Rumley, Ankeny, 22.93; 23. Zoe Beals, Marshalltown, 25.55.

100 BUTTERFLY — 1. Berit Quass, Dowling Catholic, *54.38.

100 FREESTYLE — 1. Amy Feddersen, Ames, *49.54.

500 FREESTYLE — 1. Berit Quass, Dowling Catholic, 4:55

200 FREESTYLE RELAY — 1. Ankeny (Ware, Ault, Doruska, Rumley) 1:35.19.

100 BACKSTROKE — 1. Sophie Sorenson, Ames, *54.60.

100 BREASTSTROKE — 1. Molly Winer, Ames, 1:02.62.

400 FREESTYLE RELAY — 1. Ames (Sorenson, Horras, Galvin, Feddersen) *3:24.89.