On paper, Thursday’s dual meet between the fifth-ranked Ankeny boys’ swimming team and No. 4 Valley appeared to be a toss-up.
The two squads entered the CIML Conference matchup separated by just four points in the latest power rankings of the state’s top teams.
In the end, though, host Valley dominated the meet, winning seven of the 11 events and cruising to a 105-65 victory. The Hawks’ record dropped to 0-2-1 in the conference.
Ankeny coach Justin Crouch took the blame for the loss.
“As you can tell by the results, it was a tough night,” Crouch said. “The score doesn’t tell the whole story of the meet. Going forward, I need to coach and teach better. I need to be a better example. I am not reaching this team as I have other teams in the past. It all stems from me. I am the leader of this group, and I am falling short of guiding these boys to reach team and personal goals.”
Ankeny’s Owen Schwebach won a pair of individual events. He took the 50 freestyle in 22.09 seconds, then captured the 100 butterfly in 52.51.
Lance Swanepoel won the 100 freestyle in his return to the Hawks’ lineup. He posted a time of 48.16 seconds.
Swanepoel, who missed the last three meets while competing at the 2022 Speedo Winter Junior Championships in Austin, Texas, earlier took second in the 200 freestyle in 1:42.94. Valley’s Jacob Pins won that event in 1:41.35 and later broke own his own pool record in the 500 freestyle.
Ankeny’s other victory came in the 200 freestyle relay. The foursome of Swanepoel, Owen Evans, Noah Schafer and Schwebach was clocked in 1:29.85.
Evans added a third-place finish in the 50 freestyle in 23.66, while Calvin Howard took third in the 100 freestyle in 51.84. Brock Peterson finished third in the 100 backstroke in 56.41.
“It isn’t always about wins and losses, good races or bad, it is truly about the culture you build and the persona you want to perpetuate,” Crouch said. “Right now, this team is struggling with building a team culture and a persona, which is a far greater issue than wins in losses.”
Valley moved into the No. 1 spot in the power rankings after the meet. The Tigers set four pool records on the night.
Pins teamed up with Reed Wallace, Charlie Bishop and Hayden Dinkin to break the records in both the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays. Wallace broke the pool and school records in the backstroke.
Valley swept the top three places in the 200 individual medley, 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke. The Tigers wore their technical suits for the meet, which likely gave them a significant advantage.
“The suits definitely made them swim faster,” Crouch said. “At the end of the day, we would not have won the meet. We need to be worried about our own performance instead of what others are doing.”
The Hawks will compete in the Little Hawk Invitational on Saturday at the Mercer Park Aquatic Center in Iowa City.