Waukee Boys Win 4th Iowa State Title in 7 Years Led by Junior AJ Abram

2022 Iowa High School Boys’ State Championship Results

  • February 11-12, 2022
  • University of Iowa Aquatic Center, Iowa City, Iowa
  • Prelims/Finals, Short Course Yards (25 Yards)
  • Results

The Waukee High School boys are emerging as the new swimming power in the state of Iowa. They came out of the fray at a very fast state meet last weekend with their second-straight Iowa State Championship and fourth in the last seven years.

Head coach Dan Briggs now has four state titles, which ties as the fifth-most in Iowa state history – a state that has been awarding team titles since 1938.

The team’s 293.5 points are the most in state meet history, surpassing the 268.5 that Waukee scored last year.

This meet was dominated by juniors and seniors, and wound up being the deepest state meet in Iowa history, top-to-bottom, even though only one State Records was broken.

That record-setting swim came in the opening race of the meet, where Iowa City West broke the 200 medley state record by seven-tenths of a second.

That relay:

  • Back: Boyd Skelley, senior – 23.48
  • Breast: Jordan Christensen, senior – 25.42
  • Fly: Holden Carter, sophomore – 22.02
  • Free: Kirk Brotherton, senior – 19.95

Brotherton each had the fastest split of the field on the anchor leg.

The old record was set in 2020 by one of Iowa City’s two other comprehensive high schools, City High, in 2020 in 1:31.58. That old record relay included Forrest Frazier, the best male high school swimmer from Iowa in at least the last decade, who is currently a sophomore at Cal.

Final Team Standings (Top 5):

  1. Waukee – 293.5
  2. Iowa City West – 232
  3. West Des Moines Valley – 208.5
  4. Linn-Mar – 194
  5. Bettendorf – 190

The champions from Waukee were paced by two wins from junior AJ Abram and another from senior Andrew Reiter, plus a fourth individual event title late in the meet in the 100 back from junior Asher Havenhill.

Waukee opened the meet hot by winning each of the first two individual events. Abram, a Kentucky commit, won the 200 free in 1:36.13. That whacks almost two seconds off his previous best time of 1:37.9 from Winter Juniors West last December.

Abram found another gear on the third 50 of his race. His splitting was 22.90-24.59-23.63-25.01, still managing the best final 50 in the field in spite of his acceleration on the third lap.

This season, even as a high school junior, Abram would rank 2nd on Kentucky’s roster in the 200 free – showing how much of an impact he will make when he arrives in the fall of 2023.

He won a highly-anticipated head-to-head matchup with the Bettendorf senior Alex Stone, who won the 50 and 100 free at last year’s state meet, but who this year shifted to the 100 and 200 free. Stone finished 2nd in a best time of 1:37.02.

Waukee got another win in the very next race thanks to Andrew Reiter, who successfully defended his 200 IM title. He swam 1:48.57 to earn an Automatic All-America honor from NISCA. Even though his time was slower than the 1:47.7 that he won with last year, he still cruised to a win in 1:48.57.

Waukee went a little quiet in the next few races, allowing West Des Moines – Valley to creep up on them in the team standings, but Abram was back in the pool to drop another hammer in the 100 free, winning in 44.60. This race saw five swimmers go faster than 45 seconds.

Iowa City senior Kirk Brotherton finished 2nd in 44.69, followed by Dubuque-Hempstead’s George Holesinger in 3rd in 44.87.

Holesinger entered the meet with a best time of 45.62 in the 100 free, and entered 2021 with a best time of 48.4 in the event. He erupted at this meet, also swimming a best time in the 200 free (1:39.32 – three second drop), and 50 free on a relay leadoff (21.14).

The late bloomer still has not committed to a college.

The defending champion in the 100 free Stone finished 4th in 44.94, while Waukee’s Havenhill was 5th in 44.97. Putting two swimmers in the top 5 of that race started to break the competition open a little for Waukee.

Waukee’s strengths are in the front-end and the back-end of the high school schedule, and they showed that by picking up two more victories in the last three events of the day.

Havenhill, after placing 5th in the 100 free, won the 100 backstroke in 48.85. The Arizona State commit was the runner-up in this event last season at 50.13; on Saturday, his winning time was a full second faster than what won the meet last year.

His 100 free time, as well as his 200 free relay leadoff leg (20.99), were also lifetime bests.

In spite of winning so many individual events, Waukee didn’t win any relays until the meet-closing 400 free relay. There, Abram (45.34), Cooper Rogers (47.19), Sam Davey (46.35), and Reiter (45.03) combined for a 3:03.91 to win ahead of Bettendorf (3:04.00) and Linn-Mar (3:04.11).

Waukee only graduates Reiter from that relay, and with each of the six teams behind them graduating at least two seniors, they’re positioned to repeat in this relay next season.

Stone, after being shut out in individual events, ended the meet on a high note with a 44.23 anchor split for Bettendorf’s runner-up relay. That was the fastest split of the entire field.

Other Event Winners & Highlights

  • Sioux City Metro senior Kohen Rankin won the 50 free in 20.26, three-tenths ahead of Brotherton (who had the fastest anchor split on the medley relay – where Rankin swam breaststroke, splitting 23.98). Rankin, an Army-West Point commit, later defended his title in the 100 breaststroke in 53.19. That just-missed Forrest Frazier’s State Record of 53.15. Rankin entered the meet with a best time of 55.0 from last year’s title-winning race. His new best time in the event is already faster than Army-West Point’s Plebe (freshman) record of 53.83, and is approaching the school record of 53.00.
  • Joshua Chen, a sophomore from Ames, was one of the few underclassmen to penetrate the top three in a race at this meet. He finished in 2nd in the 100 breast in 54.65, which now makes him the third-fastest swimmer in Iowa State Championship meet history.
  • With the two-time defending champion Andrew Reiter placing 4th in 49.02, slower than either of his title-winning times, Ankeny junior Lance Swanepoel won the boys’ 100 fly in 48.22. THat’s the second-best time in Iowa State Championship history, and fastest since 2014. Swanepoel, committed to Wisconsin for fall 2023, swam in the C Final at December’s Winter Junior Championships – West meet.
  • Bettendorf won the 200 free relay in 1:23.09, with Stone once again showing his mettle on a monster anchor split. His 19.88 was the fastest 50 free split in any relay on the day, and pulled his team from 3rd to 1st place. That included running down Abram, the double winner individually, who anchored Waukee in 20.31.
  • West Des Moines Valley sophomore Jacob Pins won the 500 free in an All-America time of 4:26.30. That makes him the youngest swimmer to win a title at this meet. His previous best time in the event came at the Winter Junior Championships – West meet, where he swam 4:29.

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DP Spellman
11 months ago

Great article except Waukee swimmer AJ Abrams is a Junior and his teammate Drew Reiter is a Senior.
Everything else looks correct.

Paul Eaton
11 months ago


Former Big10
Reply to  Paul Eaton
11 months ago

Not a good choice, seeing how hard they looked for a women’s coach.

Coach Scott
11 months ago

How about a shout out to Jacob Pins for winning the 500 free as a sophomore! Kid goes 4:26.30 and not even a mention!?!

11 months ago

That old record relay included Forrest Frazier, the best male high school swimmer from Iowa in at least the last decade, who is currently a sophomore at Cal.”

Mark McGlaughlin? Not sure how the total number of individual event championships etc shake out but its gotta be pretty close. Not to dig at you too much – I understand asking anyone to have a mental list of Iowa’s best recruits is a tall order lol.

Reply to  Braden Keith
11 months ago

Sounds fair to me, thanks for digging up the stats!

Former Big10
11 months ago

Wow, impressive to have 5 guys go under 45!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. 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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