In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes.
It might be time to add a top-10 finish for the Ankeny girls’ swimming team to that famous quote by Benjamin Franklin.
Ankeny placed ninth in the state meet on Saturday at the Marshalltown YMCA with 105 points. It was the team’s 10th consecutive top-10 finish and its first under coach Dustin Rhoads, who took over the program earlier this year.
“I am really proud of my team!” Rhoads said. “We had a pretty good state meet and a great last two weekends of our season. This group has been though a lot of ups and downs, but I’m happy they were able to finish in the top 10 as a team and have a lot of finalists swimming at state.”
Waukee easily captured its third straight championship, winning seven of the 12 events–including all three relays–and racking up 381 points. Dowling Catholic was a distant second with 241.5.
Ankeny tied for seventh a year ago with 108 points.
“Of course we always want more, but the girls have been so fun to work with this year and none of them should be disappointed,” Rhoads said. “They represented the Ankeny schools and community very well, and they’re such great kids that I loved being around every day working with them.”
Senior Anja Peck led the way for Ankeny. She closed out her career with an outstanding meet.
Peck placed third in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:05.81, breaking her own school record. Willa Hage of Waukee won the event in 2:02.43.
Peck later finished 10th in the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.88. Hage also won that event in 1:02.17.
On Friday, Peck broke her own school record in the breaststroke with a time of 1:05.55 in the preliminaries.
“I was super excited with how I ended up finishing in the 200IM! My goal was top three so I was super happy with it,” Peck said. “I was happy with the 100 breaststroke. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but my team was super supportive which helped me!”
Ankeny opened Saturday’s meet with a seventh-place finish in the 200 medley relay. The foursome of Josie Parton, Peck, Leah Schafer and Gracie Lindaman was clocked in 1:48.52.
Waukee won the event in 1:44.78. The Hawkettes, who were seeded third in the medley relay, missed the awards podium by .38 seconds.
“I think our team had a super amazing season, and I’m super happy with how they all did this weekend!” Peck said.
Parton, a senior, placed seventh in the 100 freestyle in 53.29. Grace Hoeper of Iowa City High won the event in 50.27.
Parton dropped .51 seconds off her time from Friday’s preliminaries, but narrowly missed the awards podium by .07.
Parton later took 12th in the 100 backstroke in 59.96, dropping .37 seconds in that event. Payden Rafferty of Waukee won the backstroke in 55.52.
“I was very happy with my times and glad I got another chance to swim them today!” Parton said. “I really appreciate the support Dustin has given me throughout this whole season and the confidence he had in me with trying a new event!”
Junior Sophie Loeffler provided a ninth-place finish in the 100 butterfly. She won the “B” final with a time of 59.13 seconds.
Hayden Bailey of Waukee won the “A” final in 55.65.
“I felt pretty good about my swims today!” Loeffler said. “I’m glad I finished as best as possible in the 100 fly!”
Ankeny ended the meet with a seventh-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay. The quartet of Loeffler, Alexis Hergenreter, Peck and Parton posted a time of 3:35.70, dropping more than a second in the race.
Waukee won the event in 3:28.36. Valley dropped nearly 7 seconds in the race and finished third, pushing Ankeny out of a spot on the awards podium.
“I split good times in the relays and was really proud of both teams,” Loeffler said. “Unfortunately, Valley stacked its relays and jumped teams in the 400 free relay, but we still cut off a second and I’m very proud.”
Loeffler earlier teamed up with Lauren Reimer, Hergenreter and Kyra Zinn for a 13th-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay. Ankeny posted a time of 1:41.14.
Waukee won the event in 1:36.97.
“It’s always weird when a season comes to an end,” Rhoads said. “There’s a lot of emotions, and it probably won’t hit me for awhile since the boys have already started (their practices), but I couldn’t have asked for a better group in my first season as the head coach.
“The future is bright, and I’m just blessed to be a small part of their journey!” he added.