The dominating season that has been for the Waukee High School boys swimming team continued on in full force over the weekend. The Warriors took the drive back to Fort Dodge and continued their dominance in that pool by following up a conference title with a district title.
Waukee took the crown in eight out of the 11 events and captured 480 team points, which was 48 points ahead of the runner-up in Ames. It was a nice continuation of what the Warriors have been doing all season despite what teams like Ames were bringing to the table, a team that took perennial power Ankeny down to the wire and more.
“We knew the depth of Ames was going to be a factor and a strength for them,” said head coach Dan Briggs. “They were with us the whole day so it was quite the back and forth battle all day. We just swam out of our minds today especially with our last third.”
That last third in fact helped to expand Waukee’s 14 point late lead to cushion things and capture the victory.
It wasn’t a cakewalk by any means and for the first time this season, Waukee didn’t capture a sweep in the relay events. While the Warriors did pick up top finishes in both the 200 Yard Medley and 400 Yard Freestyle relays with season-best times (1:36.40 - 200 Yard Medley and 3:12.07 - 400 Yard Freestyle), they fell just short in the 200 Yard Freestyle relay. Waukee did put forth an impressive time of 1:29.51 but ended up finishing third overall behind Spencer (1:28.61) and Ames (1:28.17).
On an individual note, the Warriors captured 15 top-five finishes, including six first-place finishers. AJ Abram, one of two Warriors to place first in two separate events, kicked off the individual event success with his season-best time in the 200 Yard Freestyle. That time of 1:43.47 toppled the 21 swimmer field by five seconds over second place. The freshman star also topped the 23 swimmer 100 Yard Freestyle field with yet another season-best time of 47.04 seconds.
Andrew Reiter, the sophomore phenom and Speedo Junior Nationals participant, walked away from Fort Dodge with a pair of top finishes as well, including the 200 Yard IM where his time of 1:51.63 not only bested the 19 swimmer field but was also his season-best mark. Two events later, Reiter knocked off all 20 swimmers in the 100 Yard Butterfly with a time of 51.17 seconds, also equaling a season-best time.
As for future University of Minnesota star Cameron Linder, it comes as no surprise that he too captured a top finish in the meet and a season-best time. That included a season-best mark of 4:37.54 in the 500 Yard Freestyle, which puts the senior with the third-best time in the state. Linder also followed up Reiter in the 200 Yard IM with a second-place time of 1:52.73.
Asher Havenhill was the final first-place finisher for the Warriors and just like the rest, he too captured a season-best time en route to the top finish with a time of 52.75 seconds. Havenhill was one of several freshmen to advance in all four of his events. That was followed by fellow freshman Sam Davey. His time of 53.83 seconds placed him fourth out of the 22 swimmer field.
The story of the freshmen stars for Waukee sure did continue through regionals as all six swimmers advanced on to state either through individual or relay events.
“It’s not a common thing to see freshmen on the district team, let along making them make it in all of their events, kudos to them,” said Briggs.
While Waukee didn’t capture the top spot in the 100 Yard Breaststroke, they did capture second through fourth place with Jackson Whitaker (1:01.52), Levi Manning (1:02.56) and Cooper Crouse (1:02.82).
Now it is off to the state meet for the Warriors, who have a top-five seed in seven events at the state meet. The state meet will begin from Iowa City on Saturday, Feb. 15.