Waukee girls swimming well represented in state meet finale

Andrew Brown
Dallas County News
Members of the Waukee girls swim team pose for a photo before the start of the state swimming preliminaries on Friday, Nov. 13.

The Waukee girls swim team had a strong start during day one of the 2020 Iowa high school girls state swimming and diving meet on Friday, Nov. 13 in Marshalltown.

Waukee came into the state meet came into the state meet already flexing their muscles ranked as the top team in the state and they exited day one with nine individuals qualifying for day two. All eight of the individual swimming events for the day two finale will include at least one Waukee Warrior. In fact, four of the individual events will include at least two Warrior swimmers. 

Highlighting the efforts for the state meet opener was sophomore standout Jessica Wigham. After earning Regional Athlete of the Year and multiple school records during regionals, Wigham stunned the swimming world once more in Marshalltown.

Among the 32-swimmer 500-yard freestyle field, Wigham etched her name in history with a new state record time of 4:47.43. That time not only toppled her prior-career best time but bested the prior state meet top time by one second which had been held since 2018. 

Waukee sophomore Jessica Wigham after finishing the 500-yard freestyle with a new state meet record time of 4:47.43.

Wigham's presence in the finals will come in multiple events including the 200-yard freestyle. With a new season-best time of 1:48.33, Wigham placed second out of the 32-swimmer field. 

Overall Wigham was one of three Warriors who will now grace the finals in at least two different events. Fellow sophomore Mallory Kell also punched her ticket in a pair of events, doing so in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard butterfly.

In the 200-yard IM, Kell had one of the top five initial leg times en route to a total time of 1:05.98, marking a new season-best. That was good enough for fourth-place and a shot at the finals. Kell's 100-yard butterfly time of 56.78 seconds.

Also joining in on that list was Nora Kemp who placed fifth in the 200-yard freestyle (1:54.23 - new season-best time) and the 100-yard freestyle with a new season-best time of 52.85 seconds. 

Fellow freshman Taylor Judas followed Wigham and Kemp in the 200-yard freestyle with a ninth-place time of 1:55.62. She also qualified for the finals after placing eighth in the 500-yard freestyle with a new time of 5:11.12 .

Freshman in Payden Rafferty also qualified for the finals, doing so in the 50-yard freestyle with an 11th place finishing time of 24.35 seconds. Her second finals qualifying event came in the 100-yard backstroke as she will be Waukee's sole representative after clocking in a time of 58.29 seconds. 

Following her collegiate commitment, Waukee senior Eve Wiltse qualified for the finals in the 100-yard butterfly. The senior ended up placing 15th with a new season-best time of 59.08 seconds. Sophia Hueser also punched a state finals ticket after placing 14th in the 100-yard breaststroke thanks to a time of 1:08.44. 

The Warriors will also be involved in all three relay events. The team has a strong chance of capturing a second consecutive top-five team performance in the state meet. The pool will open up for warm-ups beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14 in Marshalltown with racing starting at 12 p.m.