Bobcat relays triumph in time drops at state meet
Saturday afternoon had all the pomp and circumstance of a state swimming meet, even without the hordes of fans that usually fill into the Marshalltown YMCA/YWCA’s pool for the girls’ state meet. The records being set, the teams screaming and cheering and the swimming on display made up for the loss of fans due to concerns about the rapidly rising spread of COVID-19 in Iowa.
For the four Marshalltown High School swimmers who qualified for relays, it was a chance for the Bobcats to improve their times from regionals and for the program’s young core to get experience at the highest level of Iowa high school swimming.
In the 200-yard medley relay, the Bobcats improved four spots and cut almost three seconds off their previous personal record for the season, finishing in 1:55.94.
Head coach Angie Nelson said the group went above and beyond what she expected of them time-wise.
“It was a great race,” Nelson said. “That is exactly what we wanted. They came out and they had a really nice, commanding presence. We were just really lucky to see some awesome swimming.”
Three of the four competitors in the relay for Marshalltown were underclassmen — freshmen Lesli Waltermire and Averie Wittkop and sophomore Maeve Janssen. Nelson said the youthfulness of the group that made state has given her lots of hope for the program’s future.
She called the experience the three got critical to taking a step ahead in the coming years.
“To have these new ones come in and just be pushing, pushing, pushing everyone to be better,” Nelson said. “[They have] excellent talent and [we’re] looking forward to great things.”
The Bobcats ran second in their heat and the improvement was noticeable to the four girls, who were excited to be on a big stage.
Particularly, Waltermire was positive about the chance to race against the state’s best. Waltermire has been a consistent bright spot for the Bobcats in 2020, particularly fast in the freestyle.
Waltermire was the fastest of the four in the 200-yard freestyle relay, setting a time of 25.41 for her 50 yards in the third leg. It was the second-fastest 50-yard split of the day for Marshalltown, as Janssen closed out the medley relay with a 25.33 split.
Waltermire was thrilled with the competition.
“Even though this is my freshman year, we did club swimming like this, and I couldn’t really tell the difference [without fans],” Waltermire said. “Hearing all the yelling all the cheering is just such a great feeling.”
The 200-yard freestyle relay was a difficult test for Marshalltown as the team came in with the 32nd-best time out of 32 state qualifiers. However, the team gained a spot in the final standing at 1:45.09 and Waltermire’s time in the third leg was her best of the year.
The event was also the final of Klaudia Hernandez’s Bobcat career. A moment Nelson said was the end of a great career and one of consistent improvement.
Hernandez was emotional after her final race was run, composing herself before talking about what she thought of her four years with Marshalltown. She said she wanted her teammates to look at her as an example of the work needed to make the state tournament.
“I want them to take me as an example and as more of a role model,” Hernandez said. “I hope I made a mark on them. It was nice to swim with underclassmen because I know they have so much more talent and years left to show what they have.”
Elsewhere in the competition, the Ames Little Cyclones took home the team title with a score of 303, besting second-placed Dowling Catholic by 70 points. Meghan Donald of the Little Cyclones earned automatic All-American status with a time of 23.14 in the 50-yard freestyle.
Iowa City West’s Scarlet Martin broke her own state record set Friday night with a time of 54.14 in the 100-yard backstroke finals. Iowa City West’s 400 freestyle relay team set another state record in the finals with a 3:23.73 time, beating the previous record by nearly a full second. Aurora Roghair made it a trio of Iowa City West state records in the 500-yard freestyle finals, finishing the event in 4:45.80, nearly two seconds better than the previous record.
Iowa Girls State Swimming Championships
Team Standings — 1. Ames 303, 2. Iowa City West 277.5, 3. Dowling Catholic 233, 4. Waukee 227, 5. Johnston 173, 6. Cedar Falls 118.5, 7. Ankeny 105, 8. Linn-Mar 83, 9. Bettendorf 79, 10. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 73, 11. Norwalk 71, 12. Des Moines Roosevelt 58, 13. Lewis Central 57, 14. West Des Moines Valley 55, 15. Iowa City High 46, 16. Carroll 45, 17. Boone 44, 18. (tie) Pleasant Valley 40.5, Sioux City Metro 40.5, 20. Waterloo 40, 21. Fort Dodge 33, 22. Muscatine 31, 23. Cedar Rapids Jefferson 22, 24. Davenport Central 20, 25. Dubuque Senior 18, 26. (tie) Marshalltown 12, Decorah 12, 28. (tie) Mason City 1, Spencer 1.
(Champion plus MHS finishers)
200 MEDLEY RELAY — 1. Johnston (Rastetter, Swalley, Kaster, Osborne) 1:46.74; 26. MHS (Wittkop, Hernandez, Waltermire, Janssen) 1:55.94.
200 FREESTYLE — 1. Aurora Roghair, ICW, 1:47.30.
200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY — 1. Olivia Swalley, JHN, 2:03.28.
50 FREESTYLE — 1. Meghan Donald, AMES, 22.99.
100 BUTTERFLY — 1. Scarlet Martin, ICW, 53:01.
100 FREESTYLE — 1. Donald, AMES, 50.63.
500 FREESTYLE — 1. Roghair, ICW, 4:45.78.
200 FREESTYLE RELAY — 1. Iowa City West (Hochstetler, J. Roghair, A. Roghair, Martin) 1:34.34; 31. MHS (Wittkop, Janssen, Waltermire, Hernandez) 1:45.09.
100 BACKSTROKE — 1. Martin, ICW, 54.14.
100 BREASTSTROKE — 1. Swalley, JHN, 1:04.12.
400 FREESTYLE RELAY — 1. Iowa City West (J. Roghair, Taeger, A. Roghair, Martin) 3:23.73.