PLEASANT HILL — It’s been a season of unprecedented success for the Newton-Colfax-Mingo-Pella swim team.
Saturday, it reached another milestone.
Competing in a regional meet at Southeast Polk High School, the Aquagirls achieved their best showing ever in the state qualifying event by placing second out of nine teams. They finished only behind No. 1-ranked Ames. The team’s previous best finish at regionals was third in 2003.
“That was our goal going in,” NCMP coach Sarah Patterson said about taking second. “It’s been fun with such a strong team as this to have some of these goals. Besides the relays, regionals are a pretty individualized meet. It was amazing to go in there, take second and be right up there.”
In the process of the team’s runner-up placing, the Aquagirls also earned trips to Saturday’s state meet for five swimmers — four of whom will compete in multiple events. NCMP qualified for state in two relays and five individual events.
Individually, junior Carly Colville qualified in the 200-yard freestyle and 100 butterfly, freshman Samantha Hedrick qualified in the 50 and 100 freestyles and sophomore Hannah Scotton qualfiied in the 100 butterfly. The Aquagirls’ 200 freestyle relay of Colville, sophomore Rachel Prendergast, Scotton and Hedrick will go to state, as will the 400 freestyle relay team of Colville, Prendergast, freshman Sydney Jenkins and Hedrick.
“They were all just strong competitors on Saturday,” Patterson said of her state qualifiers. “They didn’t back down. There were a couple events were the final heat was three girls from ames and three for us. I ddin’t feel like we were intimidated, thinking they (Ames) were ‘the “big girls.””
Out of regionals, the top 24 times for individual and relay events qualified for state. Each regional individual event had 24 entrants, while relays had eight or nine.
The Aquagirls won two of the meet’s individual events — aside from diving, which the team didn’t compete in this season — was second in one, third in three, fifith in one, sixth in four, seventh in three and eighth in two.
NCMP’s meet started with the 200 medley relay team of Jenkins, freshman Sierra Griffith, Scotton and sophomore Sara Martin taking fourth in 1 minute, 57.83 seconds — missing state by 1.08 seconds. It faired well in the 200 freestyle, as Colville, Prendergast and freshman Elizabeth Myers took third, seventh and 10th, with Colville qualifying 18th in the state in 2:00.43.
Next was the 200 individual medley, where senior Sidney Griffith, freshman Hannah Rhoads and Sierra Griffith took sixth, eighth and 12th. The Aquagirls picked up their second state qualifier in the 50 freestyle, where Hedrick took second in 24.82 seconds — the eighth-best time statewide. Scotton was eighth in 25:78.
NCMP’s biggest event was the 100 butterfly. Scotton won the event and had the state’s eighth-best time in 1:00.19, while Colville was third and qualified 11th in 1:00.57 and Martin took seventh in 1:05.83.
The Aquagirls stayed atop the podium in the next event as well. Hedrick won the 100 freestyle in 53.64 seconds, while Prendergast (56.25) and Jenkins (57.56) were fifth and sixth. Hedrick’s time was sixth-best in the state, while Prendergast missed state by just .17 seconds.
NCMP’s best finisher in the 500 freestyle was Myers, who took sixth in 5:46.66.
The team got its next state qualifier in the 200 freestyle relay, where the foursome of Colville, Prendergast, Scotton and Hedrick took third in 1:42.25 — the 14th-best time in the state.
Next up was the 100 backstroke, where Jenkins and Sidney Griffith took seventh and eighth in 1:03.95 and 1:06.52. In the 100 breaststroke, Rhoads and Martin took 10th and 11th in 1:14.46 and 1:15.54.
That brought the meet to its final event — the 400 freestyle relay. There, the team of Colville, Prendergast, Jenkins and Hedrick took second in 3:43.31 — which was 11th-best in the state.
“Everyone that swam, besides one or two events, had season-best times,” Patterson said. “It was phenomenal to watch them one after another give everything they had.”
The state meet is Saturday at the Marshalltown YMCA Natatorium, beginning with the Parade of teams at noon.