MARSHALLTOWN – Like everything in 2020, Saturday’s Iowa high school girls’ state swimming championship had a different look.
The bleachers inside Marshalltown’s YCMA normally filled with a sold-out crowd of friends and families were occupied by competitors that raised the decibel level on their own. Masks were worn by everyone who wasn’t inside the pool and open swim time was added between events.
In the end, Ames used its depth to capture a state title with 303 points. Iowa City West set four records – including three by the meet’s Most Outstanding Swimmer Scarlett Martin – to finish second with 277.5.
“For how different this was, and all of the rules, honestly I think it was ran really well,” Cedar Falls junior Grace Frericks said after adding to her medal collection. “Everyone swam so fast. I’m so proud of my teammates, and honestly the whole state of Iowa. So many records went down and so many girls went best times. I’m very happy overall with how it went.”
Waterloo’s Carley Caughron also savored the day. Caughron capped her stellar career by enjoying the company of teammates making their state debut.
The unified Waterloo swim program’s 200 freestyle relay of Caughron, Kate Miller, Anna Gieser and Anna McNally not only won their heat, but finished well above their qualifying position with a school-record time of 1:43.01 that was good for 19th. That same quartet also competed in the 200-medley relay.
“It was really enjoyable, not only for me, but for my three other relay teammates,” Caughron said. “They haven’t really experienced a big meet like this so afterwards they all had a huge smile on their face. It didn’t matter if we won or lost, we’re all just really excited to be swimming in a relay together.
“They were very calm, but they also got themselves pumped up before the relay. They all swam really well.”
More individual medals were earned by Caughron. She followed a third-place effort in the 50 freestyle with a second-place time of 51.89 in the 100 freestyle. Ames’ Meghan Donald won both races. Caughron actually went two-tenths of a second faster than Donald on her closing 50-yard split but had too big of an early deficit to overcome as the Ames sprinter won the 100 in 50.63.
“I couldn’t hear the crowd, but I felt it and more adrenaline started coming in,” Caughron said, recalling her closing 100 kick. “My legs started getting really heavy and it was just a fight to the finish.”
Caughron’s second-place finish was her best in four state appearances. The Waterloo standout ends her prep career with six top six efforts at state.
“They were all races that I loved and I feel that I executed them really well,” Caughron said, assessing her Saturday performance.
While Caughron now turns her focus to sprinting on Iowa State’s swim team, Frericks continues to trend in the right direction after a strong finish to her junior season.
Hampered by strained quad that kept her out for the season’s first half, Frericks took pride in end result. The University of Kentucky commit helped guide Cedar Falls to a sixth-place team total of 118.5 points, one place better than a season ago.
In addition to recording her top times in high school races with a second-place effort in the 50 freestyle and a third-place swim in the 100 backstroke, Frericks joined Marley Hagarty, Emma Clark and Kendall Mallaro to finish fifth in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:37.52. Frericks, Grace Bobeldyk, Mallaro and Clark were fifth in the 400 freestyle relay in 3:33.2.
“I was disappointed with how the start of my season went – tearing my quad was not fun – but I worked really hard to come back and I’m super happy that I got to be able to compete the last part of the season,” Frericks said. “I’m so happy that I got to be a part of the relays. I know that really helped them and us all together go faster and do what we wanted to do.”
Frericks out-touched Caughron by three-hundredths of a second (23.56 to 23.59) in the 50 freestyle race won by Donald in 22.99. Clark tied for fifth in 24.13, one-hundredth of a second back of fourth.
“Meghan is amazing,” Frericks said. “She beat me by a lot so I can’t be mad about that, but I’m also very proud of Carley and Emma. They both did really well. ... I talked to my coaches, they told me what I needed to do, and I just had to go out there and do it for myself.”
In the backstroke, only Martin’s state record time of 54.14 and future Kentucky teammate Annie Galvin of Ames’ 55.35 were better than the 55.42 that Frericks clocked. The Cedar Falls junior now owns six top four individual finishes through three state appearances.
“She’s got a winning attitude and she showed that today in her races,” Cedar Falls coach Chelsea Szczyrbak said.
Cedar Falls’ Clark also scored points in the 100 freestyle. Mallaro scored points in the butterfly and Bobeldyk in the 500. The Tigers’ 400 freestyle relay capped a fun weekend for the team.
“Today was fantastic,” Szczyrbak said. “It was a good meet overall yesterday and today, together. We had season-best times again and some lifetime bests, as well.
“The 400 free relay just went outstanding in that last race so it was fun for them to finish off a great season, a great meet, with a great race.”
Preps to Watch: Fall 2020
Fall 2020 sports Preps to Watch
Girls’ state swimming results
TEAM STANDINGS – 1. Ames 303, 2. Iowa City West 277.5, 3. West Des Moines Dowling 233, 4. Waukee 227, 5. Johnston 173, 6. Cedar Falls 118.5. … 20. Waterloo 40.
DIVING – 1. Makayla Hughbanks (Bettendord) 509.95, 2. Ciara Wheeler (Johnston) 466.05, 3. Sydney Hanson (Bettendorf) 483.55. … 10. Avery Hogan (Waterloo) 439.75.
200 MEDLEY RELAY – 1. Johnston (Abby Rastetter, Olivia Swalley, Brooklyn Kaster, Izzy Osborne) 1:46.74, 2. Ames 1:46.77, 3. WDM Dowling 1:47.46. … 23. Cedar Falls (Katie Butler, Baylee Lehmann, Sutton Paulsen, Sophia Mason) 1:55.62, 29. Waterloo (Kate Miller, Carley Caughron, Anna Gieser, Anna McNally) 1:58.68.
200 FREESTYLE – 1. Aurora Roghair (IC West) 1:47.3, 2. Jessi Wigham (Waukee) 1:48.14, 3. Jade Roghair (IC West) 1:52.85.
200 IM – 1. Olivia Swalley (Johnston) 2:03.28, 2. Annie Galvan (Ames) 2:04.94, 3. Julia Sweetman (Dowling) 2:05.64. … 15. Kendall Mallaro (Cedar Falls) 2:12.51.
50 FREESTYLE – 1. Meghan Donald (Ames) 22.99, 2. Grace Frericks (Cedar Falls) 23.56, 3. Carley Caughron (Waterloo) 23.59, 4. Abby Lear (Muscatine) 24.12, T5. Emma Clark (Cedar Falls) 24.13, T5. Hope Cvrk (Sioux City) 24.13.
100 BUTTERFLY – 1. Scarlett Martin (IC West) 53.01, 2. Mia Moulden (Ames) 56.13, 3. Heidi Stalkfleet (Iowa City High) 56.3. … 10. Kendall Mallaro (Cedar Falls) 58.35.
100 FREESTYLE – 1. Donald (Ames) 50.63, 2. Caughron (Waterloo) 51.17, 3. Mary Sweetman (Dowling) 52.55. … 12. Emma Clark (Cedar Falls) 53.77.
500 FREESTYLE – 1. Aurora Roghair (IC West) 4:45.78, 2. Jessi Wigham (Waukee) 4:48.35, 3. Heidi Stalkfeet (City High) 4:51.22. … 15. Grace Bobeldyk (Cedar Falls) 5:20.73.
200 FREESTYLE RELAY – 1. Iowa City West (Ella Hochstetler, Jade Roghair, Aurora Roghair, Scralett Martin) 1:34.34, 2. Ames 1:34.74, 3. Dowling 1:35.85. … 5. Cedar Falls (Marley Hagarty, Clark, Mallaro, Frericks) 1:37.52, 11. Decorah (Paige Werner, Maeley Nefzger, Katerina Koarik, Julia Alberts) 1:40.76, 19. Waterloo (Caughron, McNally, Gieser, Miller) 1:43.01.
100 BACKSTROKE – 1. Scarlett Martin (IC West) 54.14, 2. Annie Galvin (Ames) 55.35, 3. Frericks (Cedar Falls) 55.42.
400 FREESTYLE RELAY – 1. Iowa City West (J. Roghair, Olivia Taeger, A. Roghair, Martin) 3:23.73, 2. Waukee 3:29.53, 3. Ames 3:30.6. … 5. Cedar Falls (Frericks, Bobeldyk, Mallaro, Clark) 3:33.2.