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The Ames High School girls’ swimming and diving team, currently ranked #1 in the state of Iowa, took on #3 Johnston in their first meet of the season at home and won the meet with a final score of 115-71. Click here to see Iowa Team Rankings, thanks to quikstatsiowa.com. The site also manages rankings for the top times in each event in Iowa.
Ames won four straight Iowa state championships from 2010-2013 under coach Dan Flannery, and fell to 2nd place last season by just 8 points to Pleasant Valley. Johnston finished in 6th place last year.
Flannery’s squad wasted no time in making their presence known, as they broke the Ames pool record with a 1:48.82 in the opening 200 yard medley relay, touching over four seconds ahead of Johnston’s A team. The only Johnston leg to out-split an Ames swimmer was junior Lexi Horner, who split a 30.59 on breaststroke, just a touch faster than Ames freshman Molly Winer (30.75). Ames sophomore Jazlyn Horras had already given her team a 2+ second lead after backstroke (28.05), and junior Grace Snyder (25.89) on fly and freshman Amy Feddersen (24.13) on free produced a rock-solid back half to extend the Ames lead. In addition to breaking the pool record, their finishing time of 1:48.82 is not far off of the state record (1:45.50) set by Ames in 2013, which bodes well for them as this was just the first meet of the season. Snyder was the butterfly leg of that relay as a freshman. Also of note: all four of Ames’ medley relay legs return next year.
Johnston’s Horner turned out to be her team’s best performer at the meet in terms of event wins, as the junior blazed to two individual victories. She first took the 200 IM in 2:10.63 over Snyder’s 2:11.81, though it looked to be all Snyder after backstroke. The Ames junior was out in 1:01.89 to Horner’s 1:03.88. Horner, a breaststroker, charged back with a 36.70 to Snyder’s 39.94, and held on in the end for the win. She went on to take the 100 breast in 1:07.02, winning the event by over four seconds.
Meanwhile, the bright spot for Ames (or maybe the bright-est spot, since there were multiple swimmers who had outstanding meets) was sophomore Sophie Sorenson. As a freshman, she finished 2nd in state in the 50 free (23.11), which landed her at #30 on the NISCA All-America list. She was the fastest of just 8 freshmen to make the nation’s top 100 in that event last year. Sorenson topped the field in the 100 free at 52.89 (freshman teammate Fedderen was 2nd in 53.93 as the two were the only girls under 56 seconds) and later broke the pool record in the 100 back with her time of 57.10, leading a 1-2 Ames finish with medley relay backstroker Horras (59.39).
Sorenson actually finished behind Horras last year at the state meet in the 100 back, going 56.82 to Horras’ 56.29, as the two finished 2nd and 3rd overall. With 2014 100 back champion Maddie Gehrke graduated and off to swim for the University of Missouri, Sorenson and Horras are Iowa’s top returners in the event as sophomores.
Ames won the remainder of the events at the competition, as junior Morgan Rosser won the 200 and 500 freestyles (1:58.11 and 5:18.28), Feddersen took the 50 free (24.35), and Ames took both free relays. Rosser placed 5th in the 200 free and 2nd in the 500 free last year at the State champs. Feddersen’s win, however, didn’t come too easily. While Lexi Horner had an outstanding meet for Johnston, they got a great swim from junior Lexie Winnett in the 50. Her 24.61 wasn’t enough to top Ames’ fab frosh Feddersen, but it was good for 2nd place and it helped keep things close with the #1-ranked team in Iowa. Winnett also placed 2nd in the 100 fly (1:00.73), though Grace Snyder won that race by a much larger margin, touching in at 57.87. Snyder almost improved upon her 2014 state swim, a 57.20 that placed her 7th.
Ames’ free relays were both 4th last year, and they dominated Johnston at this dual. Their 200 relay turned in a 1:40.23 after a big lead-off from Sorenson (24.24), while their 400 relay clocked a 3:42.91 helped by a 54.09 lead-off from Snyder and a 53.69 anchor from Sorenson. Ames freshman Jayna Misra dove to a score of 237.25 to win the 1 meter, the only diver to top 200 points.
Johnston will have their first home meet of the season today at 5:30pm CT against West Des Moines Valley, while Ames travels to take on Dowling today at 5:30 as well.