The magical season that is continued on strong for the Waukee girls’ swimming and diving team as they bested the CIML-Iowa Conference meet Thursday, Oct. 24 in Marshalltown.
The Warriors captured 616 points total to capture the conference title with rival West Des Moines Valley finishing in second place. The victory came courtesy of over 20 top-five finishes and five total first-place finishes on the night. It’s impressive in its own right but it’s even more impressive given the fact that the lineup was changed up heading in.
“We’re changing things up a bit as some of our girls won’t swim in their main events,” said head coach Shelley Twigg. “A lot of the senior girls get to swim in one last “hurrah” event or strengthen themselves in others. We’re pretty confident that those who haven’t qualified for certain events like Anna Hamling in the 100 Butterfly will do so at qualifying.”
Even with that in play, the Warriors still dominated and took the overall victory. It started out with Mali McGregor placing second in the diving event for Waukee, posting a final score of 365.70. She, along with Kerilyn Schmidt kicked off the top-five performances. Waukee took home the gold in two out of the three relay events including the 200-yard medley relay. The group of Evan Schqickerath, Camden Habgood, Anna Hamling, and Jessi Wigham defeated the entire 33 team field with a total time fo 1:53.77, giving Waukee 40 points towards the winning cause. Wigham and Hamling joined up once again to take on the 200-yard freestyle relay alongside freshman star Mallory Kell and Sophia Hueser. Their forces combined to place first out of 34 teams with a time of 1:43:43.
Two of the first-place finishes came from Jessi Wigham who has placed first in at least one event in every meet this season. Thursday, she started things off individually with a first-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly. The freshman clocked in a time of 1:01.27 for first-place out of 27 total swimmers. Maddi Kemp followed up by placing fifth with a time of 1:05.57. Wigham’s second top performance of the day came in the 100-yard backstroke, an event she has already qualified in for state. She defeated the 36-swimmer field with a time of 59.74.
Even though senior Anna Hamling didn’t qualify for state in the 100-yard breaststroke event during conference, she still managed to take first place with a time of 1:10.84. Hamling also added in a second-place finish in the 50-yard freestyle event courtesy of a time of 25.70 seconds, a season-best for the senior. She was followed by fellow teammates Kassidy Rinderknecht in third (26.17 seconds), Evan Schqickerath in fourth (26.43 seconds), and Maddi Kemp in fifth (26.49 seconds), all out of 97 swimmers. That event alone gained Waukee 48 points.
Even though she didn’t capture first, freshman Mallory Kell did clock in two second-place finishes for the meet. One such outcome came in the 100-yard freestyle, where she clocked in a time of 56.03 seconds, just a few seconds off state qualifying times. The 200-yard freestyle event also witnessed a second-place finish for the freshman who clocked in her season-best time of 2:01.27. Other strong performances included Camden Habgood and Sophia Hueser placing fourth and fifth in the 200-yard IM, Maddie Kemp placing fifth in the 100-yard butterfly (1:05.57), Maia Bumgardner placing third in the 100-yard freestyle (57.83 seconds), and Payten Coates placing fourth out of a 21 swimmer field in the 500-yard freestyle (5:32.23).
Next up for the Warriors will be the regional diving meet today which includes Burlington, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Washington, Fairfield, Grinnell, Kennedy, and Newton. The meet will take place at the Waukee Family YMCA and will begin at 5 p.m.