Senior Owen Evans helped the Ankeny boys’ swimming team to a ninth-place finish in the state meet on Saturday at Iowa City. He earned a spot on the awards podium in two of his four events.
Evans scored a total of 26.5 points for the Hawks, accounting for more than 23 percent of the team’s total (113 points).
Here is some inside info on Evans:
Congratulations on an outstanding season. Were you happy with your performances at the state meet?
Yes, I had a really good season and a lot of time dropped from last year. The state meet went well.
Did you have any personal goals going into the meet, and were you able to reach them?
I went into the season with the goal of making an “A” final, and I was able to achieve that in the 100 freestyle. I swam very well in prelims, dropping nearly a second and a half in my 100 free and over half a second in my 50 free. The time drop in the 100 landed me a seventh-place qualifying spot and the “A” final that I was shooting for all season.
You anchored the 200 medley relay to a fifth-place finish in 1:35.16, dropping about 2 seconds off your time. Did you think your team, which was seeded seventh in the event, was capable of swimming that fast?
We definitely went into the medley relay with the expectation to drop that much time. This entire medley relay was a returning relay from last year at state so we knew what we were capable of, and we definitely have chemistry. The school record stands at 1:34.76 so we had our sights on that. We were a little disappointed at the near-miss, but we still dropped time from last year so we can’t complain too much. We placed sixth last year in that event so it was nice to make the top five and swim with that group again for the last time.
In the 50 freestyle, you placed 13th in 21.72 seconds. But you actually tied your teammate, Owen Schwebach, for the eighth-fastest qualifying time of 21.44 during Friday’s preliminaries, then had to have a swim off against Schwebach to see who would qualify for the “A” final. Owen told me that it was the craziest thing that has happened to him in his swim career. What was your reaction when you saw that you had tied him, and that you’d have to swim the 50 again?
The time drop in the 50 actually caused me to tie (Schwebach). We are both seniors, and ironically we are both named Owen, and have been swimming with each other since we were 10 as well as all throughout high school. Owen swam in the heat before me, so I knew right when I had finished that we tied and one of my first thoughts was, “Holy crap if I have to swim off against Owen”. A lot of people felt bad that we had to swim off against each other, but it was really a special experience with both of us being seniors swimming our last preliminary in high school and it was definitely the highlight of my weekend. There was some talk about one of us forfeiting, or doing rock-paper-scissors, but in the end we both knew we had earned the right to be there and that swimming for it was a fair way to decide. It was really fun sitting behind the block with him and hearing the other teams chanting “Owen”.
You swam the same time of 21.44 in your race against Owen, but he just went a little bit faster. He told me that he’s so proud of you and all that you’ve accomplished, and I’m sure you have a lot of respect for him as well, don’t you?
Yeah, I ended up somehow going the exact same time down to the hundredth (of a second), and Owen dropped some time and out-touched me. I’m obviously very happy for him, and it was so fun getting to end the year like that after swimming with him for so long.
You then placed eighth in the 100 freestyle in 47.39 seconds. I know you didn’t swim as fast as you did in Friday’s prelims (46.89), so what was the difference between those two races?
I did add some time from Friday to Saturday, but that’s no surprise to me. I was fully rested for Friday, and I knew that I would have to make some really big drops to meet my goal of making an “A” final. I was a little disappointed at my times on Saturday, but taking a look at the whole weekend and season, I would count it as a win.
You later helped the 200 freestyle relay team to a ninth-place finish in 1:26.83. Did it hit you after that race that your high school career was over?
Yeah, my last race of the meet was the 200 free relay. We had debated loading up the 400 free relay instead, but ultimately chose the 200. I’m glad I was able to end my season in an “A” final against some of the fastest kids Iowa has ever seen. It was a very competitive meet topped by a very competitive race, and it was a fun way to go out!
Plans for next year? Are you going to swim in college?
I don’t have any plans to swim in college next year. I have gotten questions about it for a while, but I’ve decided to end my swimming career with that last meet in Iowa City. It was a good run, I had a lot of fun swimming throughout my childhood, I met a lot of amazing people and friends through the sport, and it has taught me important lessons of hard work and dedication that I will carry for the rest of my life.