On the heels of another fine performance, the Waukee girls swimming and diving team toppled the eight-team field at the Johnston Invitational Saturday, Oct. 12.
With the help of 22 top-five finishes and four first-place performances, the Lady Warriors took the invitational crown with a team score of 369. They were followed closely by host Johnston who finished second with a team score of 329 followed by Dowling Catholic to round out the top three with 173 points.
As has the case all season, the Warrior swimmers received a huge boost from freshman phenom Jessi Wigham who hand a hand in all four first-place finishes. That continued the amazing streak put on by the freshman as Wigham has now captured at least one first-place finish in every meet she’s participated in this season. Saturday in Johnston, it began with the 200-yard freestyle event where she bested the 21 swimmer field with a time of 1:56.35. That fell just over two seconds off her state qualifying time for the event.
Wigham also took home the gold in the grueling 500-yard freestyle event. The freshman led in all ten segments of the race and defeated the 21 swimmer field with a time of 5:06.21 which would have more than qualified her for state had she not already punched her ticket back on Sept. 14. Wigham was also a crucial component to the 200-yard freestyle relay group that placed first with a time of 1:41.88. She swam alongside fellow freshman Mallory Kell who led off the relay followed by senior star Anna Hamling and Sophia Hueser. Overall Waukee placed two inside the top-five in that event with the group of Evan Schwickerath, Maia Bumgardner, Izzy Stevens, and Maddi Kemp who placed fourth with a time of 1:46.40.
Wigham’s presence also helped the 400 freestyle relay take first with a time of 3:46.04. The freshman once again anchored a stellar foursome that began with powerhouse Anna Hammling and continued on with Kemp and Schwickerath.
Other strong performances included the 200-yard medley relay team of Wiltse, Habgood, Kell, and Hueser who came together and captured second with a time of 1:53.08. That time marked a season-best Waukee in that event. Other strong outcomes came from Schwickerath who placed third behind Wigham in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:02.14. It was also a strong weekend for senior Anna Hamling who place second in the 200 IM with a time of 2:11.14 while coming less than a second off of her season-best in the 100-yard butterfly thanks to a time of 1:00.79.