When the Ankeny boys’ swimming team won its first state title a year ago, the Hawks racked up 226 points, 16 more than runner-up Waukee.
Third-ranked Ankeny may have to surpass that total by a considerable margin on Saturday in order to defend its crown.
No. 1 Iowa City West is a clear favorite to capture the title in its backyard. The state meet will be held at the University of Iowa Campus Recreation and Wellness Center in Iowa City, beginning at 12:10 p.m. with the parade of teams.
Iowa City West leads the state power rankings with 2,432 points, 313 more than No. 2 Bettendorf. Those two teams, as well as Ankeny and No. 4 Waukee, are all projected to score more than 200 points on Saturday.
Iowa City West, though, appears to have a sizable advantage. The Trojans would score 271 points based on the seedings for the state meet, far more than Bettendorf (213.5), Ankeny (204) and Waukee (201).
The Hawks are led by junior Trent Frandson, the defending state champion in both the 200 and 500 freestyle events. He is the No. 1 seed in both events.
Ankeny will also be counting on individual points from seniors Max Martin and Jae Swanepoel; juniors Weston Miner, Anders Peterson and Brek Stukerjurgen; and freshman Lance Swanepoel.
Stukerjurgen is seeded fifth in the 100 backstroke and sixth in the 500 freestyle. Lance Swanepoel is sixth in the 100 butterfly and seventh in the 200 freestyle, while Miner is 10th in both the butterfly and the backstroke.
Jae Swanepoel and Martin are seeded 16th and 17th, respectively, in the 50 freestyle. Swanepoel is also seeded 11th in the 100 freestyle, while Peterson is 16th in the butterfly.
Ankeny is projected to score 90 of its points in the relay events. The Hawks are seeded fifth in the 200 medley relay, third in the 200 freestyle relay and fourth in the 400 freestyle relay.
Iowa City West is the top seed in the medley relay. The Trojans are seeded second in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays behind Bettendorf, the defending champion in both events.
Iowa City West survived a scare in the district meet at the Linn-Mar Aquatic Center. The Trojans were originally disqualified after winning the 400 freestyle relay for having a swimmer re-enter the water following his leg of the relay, but the result was eventually overturned following a call to the Iowa High School Athletic Association.
West coach Byron Butler told The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette that the disqualification, if it had been upheld, would have “ruined the day for our kids.”
“Our second swimmer, Luke Nichols, exited the pool and was exhausted,” Butler said. “He was sitting on the side and his foot re-entered the water and they ruled it re-entry into the water and called it a disqualification. It had no impact on the race.”
Iowa City West is projected to score points in every event. James Pinter is the top qualifier in the backstroke, and he’s also seeded second behind Frandson in the 200 freestyle.
The Trojans’ Izaak Hajek is the defending champion in the butterfly. He is seeded third in that event.
Iowa City West’s other top qualifiers are Diggory Dillingham, the No. 2 seed in the 50 freestyle, and Jordan Christensen, the No. 3 seed in the breaststroke.
Bettendorf’s Charlie Bunn is the defending champion in the 50 and 100 freestyle events. He is the top seed in both events.
Other returning champions are Cameron Linder of Waukee in the 200 individual medley and Forrest Frazier of Iowa City High in the breaststroke.