Waukee won three events and finished third at the second Central Iowa Conference swim meet in Pleasant Hill on Oct. 24.
The Warriors finished with 262 points, edging West Des Moines Valley by just half a point for third place. Ames (399) and Johnston (354 1/2) took the top two spots.
The close race with Valley bore a striking resemblance to the Tiger Tanker finish earlier this year in West Des Moines, in which the Warriors stole the top spot by just two points from Valley.
"We wanted to place fourth for sure, as that would have met our expectations, but edging Valley for a second time this season definitely exceeded our expectations," coach Shelley Twigg said. "They are consistently a strong team year after year, and the girls always get excited when we can hang with them or come out with an unexpected win."
Maddie Gehrke had a hand in all three event wins for Waukee. She swam to a 24.22-second finish in the 50-yard freestyle, then turned around to win the 100 freestyle in 53.61. She also anchored the 400 freestyle relay team of Camryn Somers, Jenny Brown and Ellie Blazenko to a win in 3:39.42.
Gehrke teamed up with Maddy Bridges, Tori Bussanmas and Somers to place third in the 200 medley relay. Brown was third in the 500 freestyle in 5:19.13, Somers was fourth in the 100 freestyle and Blazenko took fourth in the 200 individual medley.
Waukee travels Saturday to Johnston for a regional meet with the Dragons, Boone, Carroll, Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln, Des Moines East, Des Moines Hoover, Dowling Catholic and Lewis Central.
"It is a fast pool with fast teams that will push us to be our best, which will ultimately hopefully end with many of our girls making state-qualifying times," Twigg said. "Johnston is favored to win, and we are hoping for nothing under a second-place finish. But who knows — these girls have exceeded my expectations all year."
The state swim meet is set for Nov. 9 at the Marshalltown YMCA.