It was a more than solid showing for the Waukee girls’ swimming team on Saturday, October 27 as they battled a seven team field in the Fort Dodge regional meet.
When the water settled, the Warriors sent nine different events onto the state meet. Three of those qualified events were relay events, a part of the team head coach Shelley Twigg mentioned as a big strength for her team.
“The relays have been huge for us this season,” said Twigg before regionals. “They’ve been consistent point machines for us this year and we kind of figured that might be the case heading into the season. We are able to use the relays as a base for the rest of the team to improve and reach their potential.”
The three relay events that earned state meet appearances included the 200 medley relay team of Eve Wiltse, Elle Kramer, Anna Hamling, and Layne Collum. That group placed first in their regional field with a time of 1:50.50. The 200 freestyle relay team of Layne Collum, Alexa Wurth, Elle Kramer, and Sophia Hueser came within less than a second of taking first at regionals, clocking in a time of 1:41.61, .34ths of a second off of first place. That time did however break their current season best time of 1:43.64.
The third relay event to punch their ticket was the 400 yard freestyle relay team comprised of Collum, Wiltse, Hueser, and Hamling. The foursome not only clocked in a first place finish, but broke their previous season best time of 3:44.52 with a time of 3:38.60 on Saturday.
Individually, Eve Wiltse and Anna Hamling blazed multiple trails for the Warriors with a pair of state tickets punched each. Wiltse qualified for state in the 100 yard butterfly and the 100 yard backstroke. Wiltse joined Sophia Hueser as one of 32 swimmers to grace the state meet field in the 100 backstroke. Wiltse qualified during regionals with a time of 1:01.29 besting her prior season best by nearly a full second. Wiltse was also one of three Warriors to place inside the top ten at the Fort Dodge regional. Hueser also qualified for state with a time of 1:01.97 and she was followed up by Carly Olney who finished seventh.
Wiltse’s time of 1:00.8 bested her prior 100 butterfly time by nearly a second to punch her second individual state meet ticket Alongside Wiltse with the strongest showing of the day in that event was Anna Hamling who bested the entire 20 swimmer 100 yard butterfly field, placing first with a time of 57.73 seconds. That continued the trend of breaking season best times as Hamling’s prior season best in that event was 59.92 seconds set back on September 8th.
Hamling qualified for two total individual events with the second event being her coveted 200 yard individual medley. Heading into the Fort Dodge regional, Hamling ranked seventh in that state in the 200 yard IM but when all was said and done Saturday, the junior held a time of 2:08.21 marking her season best and a top five ranking throughout the entire state of Iowa.
Both Wiltse and Hamling were the only two Waukee swimmers to qualify for state in two separate individual events. It’s a big feat for any one individual but something that didn’t come as much of a surprise by coach Twigg.
“Both these girls are 100-200 distance event swimmers but have the mindset and the physical capabilities to do almost any event out there,” began Twigg. “Both stepped up when we needed swimmers for the 500 yard freestyle during the season and not only did they do that, but they excelled. Both have the mental mindset to push through any obstacle and for them to qualify in multiple events is very achievable for both.”
Speaking of that 500 yard freestyle event, while neither Hamling or Wiltse qualified for state in the event, the pair of Carly Olney and Maia Bumgardner did with times of 5:26.23 and 5:30.90 respectively. Those times earned Olney s second place finish at regionals with Bumgardner close behind with a third place finish. The sophomore pair qualified as the 23rd and 29th best times overall respectively.
Other state qualifiers include Maddi Kemp joining Hamling in the 200 yard IM with a time of 2:17.18, Layne Collum in the 100 freestyle (55.55 seconds), Sophia Hueser in the 100 yard backstroke (1:01.97), and Elle Kramer in the 100 yard breaststroke (1:10.22).
Now it is off to the state meet for the qualifying Warriors who will be traveling to Marshalltown on Friday, November 2.