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Waterloo Swim’s Carley Caughron, left, high fives Cedar Falls’ Emma Clark after a 2017 race at the Holmes Middle School pool. Caughron and Clark are two of the metro's top qualifiers for the girls' state swim meet Friday and Saturday in Marshalltown. 

MARSHALLTOWN -- Cedar Falls senior Grace Considine looks at it as a dress rehearsal.

Under a new format released last January by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, the girls' state swim meet has changed from a timed-finals format to a prelim/final schedule.

The first test of that format will be Friday and Saturday at the Marshalltown YMCA during the 2018 championships.

With new qualifying procedures and the new format, the number of state qualifiers in each individual event increased from 24 to 30, and the number of diving qualifiers jumped from 30 to 32.

Preliminary races will take place on Friday night with the 16 fastest times advancing to Saturday's finals. The ninth-through-16th times will compete in a consolation final and the fastest eight in a championship heat.

Also under the new format, the diving competition moved from Friday to Saturday morning.

"It definitely takes a little pressure of going into the prelim session," said Considine, who is qualified seventh in both the 200 free and 500 free and is part of the Tigers' 200-free relay team that qualified No. 1. "It gives you a better idea of how you are swimming and a bit of a trial before you have your final race where you want to go your fastest.

"It's just kind of a dress rehearsal on what you want to do and what you can improve on going into Saturday night."

Tigers head coach Scott Pinter said the new format makes swimmers produce back-to-back good swims and possibly allows somebody to put together her best two swims of the season and pull out an upset.  

"You are going to get an opportunity for a lot of people to sneak into the finals and prove they can be there and compete with the top people instead of having just one shot at it," Pinter said.

Cedar Falls began tapering prior to its regional meet last Saturday and the results were tremendous, according to Pinter.

"We rested quite a few of them before regionals, and we saw huge time drops and some really incredible swims," Pinter said. "So, I'm excited to see what can happen with a little bit extra rest."

The Tigers qualified in 10 events, including in diving with Ashton Syharath. The 200 relay team posted a time of 1:37.33 that bested all qualifiers, while several swimmers put themselves in position for top finishes.

Freshman Grace Frericks is qualified second in the 100 backstroke, while sophomore Emma Clark and Frericks are qualified four (23.66) and five (24.17), respectively, in the 50 free. Clark is also qualified third in the 100 free.

The Tigers are loose and ready.

"We're having fun right now, ready to go down there and swim fast," Clark said.

With senior diver Taylor Hogan and sophomore Carley Caughren in the 200 individual medley and 100 fly, Waterloo Swim has a chance to have three top 10 performances.

Hogan was seventh a year ago in the diving competition and her teammate Lauren Kimball also scored with a 16th-place showing. Hogan qualified third this year and Kimball seventh.

Cedar Falls' Syharath, who took third last year, is qualified 11th.

Waterloo Swim has not had a top 10 finisher in a swimming event since 2010 when Shelby Cline took 10th in the 100 free.

Caughren could change that as she has qualified fifth for the 200 individual medley, an event where she was 20th last year as a freshman, and she is qualified ninth in the 100 butterfly where she finished 19th last season.

Decorah is qualified in six events, with Emma Bachelder in the 50 free and 100 breaststroke and Margaret Rhoads in the 400 free. The Vikings also qualified in the 200 medley, 200 free and 400 free relays.

Friday's preliminary action starts at 5:30 p.m., while diving will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday with the swimming finals beginning at 4 p.m.

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Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for The Courier

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