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Warrior girls swimming captures invite crown in Johnston

Andrew Brown
Dallas County News
Waukee girls swimming after capturing the Johnston Invite crown on Saturday, Oct. 10 in Johnston.

Back in Johnston for the third time in 2020, the Waukee girls swimming team once again came out on top, this time besting an eight-team field on Saturday, Oct. 10. 

The second-ranked Warriors were among quite the talented field, which included third-ranked Dowling Catholic and fifth-ranked Johnston, yet placed first overall. That came with a team score of 335, just five points ahead of Dowling Catholic. Waukee had 11 top-three finishes highlighted by four first-place finishes. 

En route to finishing second in the 200 Freestyle event, Taylor Judas's time of 1:57.09 punched her individual ticket to state in that event and her season-best time. Judas already made her path to state in the 500-yard freestyle. She now resides as one of 10 swimmers in the state in the 200 freestyle. 

The only swimmer to best Judas in the 200 freestyle was fellow teammate Jessica Wigham, who herself had already punched her ticket to state in that event. Her first-place time for Saturday clocked in at 1:54.11, besting the entire 22 swimmer field. Yet another state qualifier in freshman Nora Kemp placed third in that event with a time of (1:58.21). 

For the eighth straight meet, Wigham topped the field in two events, accounting for two of the four first-place finishes for the meet. Her second top finish occurred in yet another event the sophomore is currently state-bound in. Wigham defeated the entire 500-yard freestyle field (17 swimmers) with a time of 5:01.62, just two seconds off of her state-qualifying time in the event.

Just like the 200-yard freestyle, Judas was right behind Wigham with a second-place finish and did so with her season-best time in the event clocking in a time of 5:12.20, two seconds ahead of her state-qualifying time as well. Judas did clock the fastest initial leg of the race (29.12 seconds) out of any swimmer in the field. 

The other first-place finishes for Waukee came from relay races.  Nora Kemp, Payden Rafferty, Sophia Hueser and Wigham toppled the eight-team field with a time of 1:41.34 in the 200-yard freestyle. Their finish helped as Waukee was the only team in the event to clock a final leg time under 20 seconds. History was made with Waukee's first-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay. After clocking in a time of 3:37.04, the foursome of Kemp, Judas, Mallory Kell and Wigham set a new invite record. 

Other strong finishes from Waukee included Rafferty placing second in the 100-yard backstroke (1:00.59 - new season-best), Kemp in the 100-yard freestyle (second at 55.04 seconds) and Kell placing second in the 200-yard IM (2:11.81). 

Next up on the docket for the Warrior girls includes a battle with sixth-ranked Ankeny on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at the DMACC Trail Point Aquatic Center. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m.