After placing fourth a year ago, the Ankeny boys’ swimming team was hoping to contend for another top-five finish in the state meet on Saturday at Iowa City.
In the end, the Hawks settled for a ninth-place finish. They scored 113 points.
“Overall, this meet was pretty crazy,” said Ankeny senior Owen Schwebach, who earned a pair of top-eight finishes in his individual events. “There were some ups and downs, but in the end I’m just super happy to see my team succeed, and I think we saw a lot of that this weekend.”
Valley won the state title with 235 points. Three-time defending champion Waukee took second with 219.5.
Ankeny earned spots on the awards podium in four events.
“The state meet went pretty well for us,” said first-year Ankeny coach Dustin Rhoads. “We didn’t meet all of our goals, and ninth was not what we wanted, but we did have a lot of fun, fast swims and a lot to be proud of.”
The Hawks opened the meet with a fifth-place finish in the 200 medley relay. The foursome of Brock Peterson, Nicholas Robie, Schwebach and Owen Evans posted a time of 1:35.16–a drop of about 2 seconds.
Iowa City West won the event in 1:30.31, earning automatic all-American honors and setting a state record.
“The state of Iowa is the fastest it’s ever been in high school swimming, which was evident by all the state records and just depth in every event,” Rhoads said. “I think in most years we would have placed higher in a lot of events and as a team overall, but that’s our sport. It’s very tough–you can’t play defense or control what anyone else does.”
Schwebach later placed fourth in the 100 butterfly for the second year in a row. He posted a time of 49.64 seconds after going 49.67 during Friday’s preliminaries, earning all-American consideration in the process.
“I’m so glad to go drop more time in the 100 fly,” Schwebach said. “At the beginning of the meet, coach Dustin said to swim for that younger version of yourself, and I don’t think he could imagine going multiple 49s in one meet so I’m just proud to finish on a high note.”
Holden Carter of Iowa City West captured the butterfly in 48.57. He earned automatic all-American honors.
The Hawks scored 30 of their points in the butterfly. Peterson won the “B” final and placed ninth overall in 51.17, while Bryer Pearson also competed in that final and took 11th in 51.96.
“I was super happy with my times,” said Peterson. “There was a lot of hard work that went into this season, so seeing the time drops felt so good.”
Schwebach earlier placed eighth in the 50 freestyle. He was clocked in 21.23 seconds.
Evans took 13th in the same event in 21.72. On Friday, Evans and Schwebach were forced to have a swim-off to determine the eighth-fastest qualifier after they posted identical times of 21.44 during the preliminaries.
“When I tied with Owen, that was just actually the craziest thing that has happened to me in my swim career,” Schwebach said. “I’m so proud of him and all he’s done.”
Finn Martin of Newton won the 50 freestyle in 20.31, edging Nick Rounds of Dowling Catholic by .04 seconds. They both earned automatic all-American honors.
Evans later placed eighth in the 100 freestyle in 47.39. Owen Chiles of Pleasant Valley easily won the race in 43.42, setting a state record and earning automatic all-American honors.
Peterson added a ninth-place finish in the 200 individual medley. He won the “B” final in 1:54.22, dropping 1.61 seconds off his time.
“I was a little disappointed about not making it into the ‘A’ final, but both of my races were very close and very fast so I needed to move on and just get as many points as I could in the ‘B’ final,” Peterson said. “My time in the 200 IM would’ve gotten fifth, but any swimmer has got to have the swim on Friday to be able to be up on the podium. I was still able to have good races in the final I was in, and I was happy to get ninth In both.”
Ankeny’s Finn Stukerjurgen also competed in that final. He placed 15th overall in 1:59.11.
Joe Polyak of Iowa City High posted a time of 1:46.35 to win the race by more than 5 seconds. He earned automatic all-American honors.
Peterson also teamed up with Schwebach, Evans and Roe Denny for a ninth-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay. Ankeny posted a time of 1:26.83.
Pleasant Valley won the race in 1:22.95, earning automatic all-American honors.
Denny later combined with Stukerjurgen, Pearson and Austin Troyer for an 18th-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay. The Hawks were clocked in 3:20.96, dropping nearly 3 seconds off their time.
Pleasant Valley also won that race in 3:03.06, earning automatic all-American honors.
“I am very proud of the 14 guys who I got to bring to the U of Iowa pool and compete for Ankeny among the best in the state,” Rhoads said. “This group has been special to me in my first year, and I will always remember them as great swimmers but even better people to be around and coach. Most of them achieved their lifetime best times at state or last week at districts, and that’s all we can hope for! It is sad this group’s journey is over, but I hope they look back and reflect on all the good memories we had together.”
Denny, Evans and Schwebach will graduate along with fellow qualifiers Tommy Gilbert, Andrew Law and Carson Sommerfeld.
“A big thank you to our seniors,” Rhoads said. “I hope they know how much they mean to me and this program. They will be greatly missed.”