Ames Boys Win First Iowa State Title in 36 Years

2018 Iowa High School Boys’ State Championship Meet

  • February 10th, 2018
  • University of Iowa Aquatic Center, Iowa City, Iowa
  • Complete Results

In one of the tightest state championship meets in the 82-year history of high school swimming in Iowa, the Ames High School boys came away with the title on Saturday by 1 point over West Des Moines Valley High School. That was the closest state meet since 1957, when Clinton beat Des Moines – Roosevelt by 1 point as well.

The win made for Ames’ first state title since 1982 and 2nd-ever state title. It also made Ames just the 3rd school to pull off the boys and girls double – the girls’ team won the state title in the fall.

The head coach of that 1982 was Mike Wittmer. Tying the two titles together: his grandson Ethan Johnson is a member of Ames’ 2018 state title winning team, swimming on their winning medley relay and finishing 8th in the 100 backstroke.

That opening 200 medley relay was Ames’ only event title of the meet, where Johnson (24.33), Dalton Lillibridge (25.42), Misho Mahrous, and Nick Matthews (20.82) combined for a 1:33.83.  Johnson was the only undeclassman scorer on the entire Ames team, including 11 senior swims in 12 relay spots.

Down to the final relay, West Des Moines Valley were heavy favorites coming into the meet, and backed that up with a 3:06.87 – a 4-second margin of victory over the field. However, the question became whether or not Ames could finish 2nd. After taking a lead to the halfway mark of the race (they front-loaded, West Des Moines back-loaded, including a 45.58 anchor from junior Jacob Keller) – the field began chasing them down. Ames’ experience paid off, though – senior Dalton Lillibridge split 47.92 on Ames’ final leg, which was just enough to hold off Ankeny senior high by .19 seconds for 2nd place and secure a state title.

Outside of the team battle, the big story of the meet was Iowa City High’s Forrest Frazier. As just a sophomore, Frazier pulled off an unusual double. First, he won the 100 fly in 49.10 – the only All-American consideration time in the field. He then came back later in the meet with a 54.16 to win the 100 breaststroke. That swim crushed the old State Record of 55.69 set by Sean Osborne in 2003 by a second-and-a-half.

Showing off his versatility, Frazier swam 4 events and 4 different strokes: he had the fastest backstroke leadoff in the medley relay splitting 23.20, and anchored Iowa City’s 400 free relay in a 46.18 split.

The day’s other state record came at the hands of another sophomore – Cedar Falls’ Dylan Moffatt. He swam a 4:27.77 i the 500 free to win by almost 5 seconds. He broke the old record of 4:29.96 done by Cameron Kelley (currently a freshman at Minnesota) in 2016.

Other Event Champions

  • Lewis Central’s Jackson Allmon won the 200 free in 1:39.11 for automatic All-America honors, and later added a win in the 100 free in 45.61. Those results are good omens for Allmon, who will begin his college career in the same Iowa pool next fall.
  • Bettendorf’s Caleb Aman won the 200 IM in 1:50.49, using a thunderous front-half to build almost a 3-second margin of victory. Evidence of just how dominant his swim was: Aman, a Wisconsin commit, had the fastest split on all 4 legs of the IM.
  • West Des Moines Valley’s Jacob Keller won the men’s 50 free in 20.75. He becomes the 3rd WDM Valley sswimmer in history to win the state title in this event.
  • Bettendorf, anchored by a 20.39 from Caleb Aman, won the men’s 200 free relay by 3-tenths over the lethal WDMV sprint group. The winning group was Charlie Bunn, Luke Nickles, Andrew Ottavianelli, and Aman, touching in 1:24.82.
  • Dowling High School junior Nick Chase won the men’s 100 back in 49.48 for automatic All-America honors.
  • The dominant West Des Moines Valley 400 free relay, that was good enough for the event but not the team title, won the closing race of the day in 3:06.87. That group was made up of Gregg Lichinsky, Evan Porter, Casey Bach, and Keller as the anchor in 45.58.

Team Scores

Top 5:

  1. Ames – 221
  2. West Des Moines Valley – 220
  3. (TIE) – Ankeny/Bettendorf – 166.5
  4. Waukee – 153

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3 years ago

Also, a big name to note is Andrew Fierke. This kid is going to be extremely fast if he continues to swim through college. He was a 6:15.77 as a freshman and is now a 1:40.7 in the 200 Free. Mike Peterson has done a fantastic job with ACAC program and rebuilding the Fort Dodge site.

3 years ago

Small correction…former Ames coach Mike Wittmer’s grandson is Ethan Johnson (not Wittmer).

3 years ago

Atmosphere was incredible!

3 years ago

Timed finals?!?! I thought Illinois was a goofy. Maybe next year we can host Illinois high school champs in Iowa City.

Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Hilarious…Iowa City hosted NCAA and Winter Juniors but doesn’t meet the high standards of IHSA.

Reply to  Dan
3 years ago

Braden is not bashing Iowa’s pool, he is making fun of Illinois’ ridiculous requisites to host a state meet; they still have host at a 6 lane high school pool because of them. All the while having UIC or NU a stones throw away. He is well aware of Iowa’s Nat being a fantastic pool to host big meets.

Reply to  612
3 years ago

My “hilarious” was in reference to the rule; not towards Braden. I’m aware of the rule and usually compare the current pools used for IHSA meet to UIC/Stevenson/NU…but to think that a truly world class pool like the one in Iowa City wouldn’t meet IHSA standards is hilarious.

3 years ago

I’m just glad to see they moved State from the YMCA, and to a much faster pool in Iowa City. Next thing they need to do is change the Stone Age timed finals format.

grumpy old man
Reply to  612
3 years ago

Not all communities in Iowa have year round swim clubs many are seasonal

Reply to  grumpy old man
3 years ago

What does that have to do with having a prelims finals meet format

Reply to  612
3 years ago

Wisconsin also has a timed finals format. Sectionals often tends to be the better meet because you have to swim fast for the hope to make it in. Time standards posted are really “last time in” times.

3 years ago

…1 point as well….

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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