For the second year in a row, the Ankeny boys’ swimming team battled Ames down to the wire in a dual meet.
Last year, the Hawks won the final five events to rally for an 86-84 victory over Ames.
On Monday, the host Little Cyclones built a 10-point lead through eight events before Ankeny rallied again. This time, the Hawks won two of the last three events to forge an 85-85 tie.
“Being down 10 points with three events to go is not how a coach designs a (meet),” said Ankeny coach Justin Crouch, whose team is now 1-0-1 on the season. “But that is where we found ourselves tonight. And then we rallied to tie it up.”
Ankeny started its comeback in the 100 backstroke, where Brek Stukerjurgen won the event in 53.40 seconds. Teammate Grant Miller was the runner-up in 57.07.
Tommy Gilbert then followed with a second-place finish in the 100 breaststroke in a time of 1:07.86, setting up a dramatic finish.
“We had a countless number of guys step up, especially in the backstroke, breaststroke and 400 freestyle relay,” Crouch said. “Brek, Grant, Devin Thornton, Tommy, Hudson Griffin and Akira Thongsouk stepped up to get us critical points. Then the 400 free relays swam well to make up the six-point difference to earn the tie.”
The foursome of Lance Swanepoel, Karsten Peters, Owen Schwebach and Stukerjurgen won the final relay in 3:19.68. The quartet of Zach Zinn, Zane Holmen, Dylan Rauser and Josh Deaton posted a time of 3:31.04, edging Ames’ ‘B’ relay by less than a second for a third-place finish that secured the draw.
“Meets like that will help us in the end,” Crouch said. “To dig deep and push yourself harder than you thought possible. These guys hate losing and fortunately we avoided a loss after digging a big hole.”
Ames opened the meet with a victory in the 200 medley relay. The Little Cyclones won four other events.
“Give Ames credit, they came out and took it to us early,” Crouch said. “We were really on our heels. It shows the fight of this team though, and the will-not-lose approach they come in with every day.”
Stukerjurgen had three wins on the night. He also won the 200 freestyle in 1:47.87.
Will Bennett swept the sprint events. He took the 50 freestyle in 22.29, then later won the 100 freestyle in 49.09.
Swanepoel had Ankeny’s other victory in the 100 butterfly, posting a time of 52.34. He took second in the 200 individual medley in 2:03.42.
It was the first meet of the season for the Little Cyclones.
“Ankeny is extremely talented and they didn’t have all of their talented swimmers here,” Ames coach Joe Fisher told the Ames Tribune. “We’re so fortunate to have tied Ankeny. It was really neat for our boys.”
The Hawks will travel to Marshalltown on Thursday for a dual meet against the Bobcats.