The goal for the Ankeny girls’ swimming team was to get on the podium in multiple events during the state meet on Saturday at the Marshalltown YMCA.
The Hawkettes accomplished their goal.
Ankeny earned a top-six finish in four different events and tied for seventh place overall with Cedar Falls with 108 points. The Hawkettes placed among the top 10 teams for the ninth consecutive year.
“I was super proud of the way the girls swam for us all season,” said first-year Ankeny coach Justin Crouch. “The girls did what us as coaches asked them to do all season. It was a rollercoaster of a weekend as I felt like we may have swam a little nervous on Friday. To see the girls rebound and swim with confidence that I knew was inside them on Saturday was really awesome.”
The CIML Conference dominated the meet, claiming all three team trophies. Waukee easily defended its title with 402 points, becoming the first team ever to top 400.
The Warriors won six events, including all three relays, in their final meet as one varsity program. Waukee and Waukee Northwest will split into two separate programs next year.
Dowling Catholic placed second with 267.5 points. Johnston finished third with 184.
Ankeny opened the meet with a sixth-place finish in the 200 medley relay. The foursome of Rachel Rolow, Anja Peck, Caroline Walker and Gracie Lindaman was clocked in 1:48.22.
“I was definitely super happy with how my teammates did and our medley relay did super well!” said Peck.
The Hawkettes later added another sixth-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay. Lindaman, Rolow and Walker teamed up with Josie Parton to post a time of 1:39.31.
Ankeny was seeded 10th in both of those relays. The Hawkettes swam in the third of four heats in both events, then had to await the results of the final heat to see where they placed.
“My goal for Saturday was just for everyone to move up one spot from where we were seeded,” Crouch said. “I believe we accomplished this in most of our races.”
Peck placed sixth in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:07.56. The junior later finished seventh in the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.63, just missing the podium in that event by .05 seconds.
“The finals were great!” Peck said. “I was super happy with them! I was really excited that I podiumed in the 200 IM for the first time, which made me feel ok not placing in the top six in the 100 breast.”
Rolow took 11th in the 200 IM in a time of 2:10.54. She later closed out her career with a sixth-place finish in the 100 backstroke, posting a time of 58.59 seconds.
Walker, another senior, placed 13th in the 50 freestyle in 25.22 seconds. She then took 11th in the 100 butterfly in 1:00.14.
“We do lose some senior leadership going forward,” Crouch said. “The leadership from our five seniors was simply outstanding this year. We had five seniors this year and every one of them qualified for the state meet. I am unsure that this has ever happened to a team that I have coached in my career.”
Lindaman was Ankeny’s other finalist. She placed 15th in the 50 freestyle in 25.26.
The Hawkettes also competed in the 400 freestyle relay. The team of Parton, Charlotte Huebsch, Madison Trosper and Peck was disqualified.
“With the low team numbers, I didn’t know what to expect going into the season,” Crouch said. “Competing against teams sometimes twice as large can be a bit of a challenge. These girls handled every win or loss with dignity and grace. I was very fortunate to be able to be a part of it. The one lesson I hope all of them learn is that they are valued and they belong to be mentioned with some of the best swimmers in the state.”