MARSHALLTOWN — Last year, Hannah Scotton entered the state swim meet admittedly as an overwhelmed freshman.
Competing in front of 3,000 fans and on the biggest stage of her life, it’s understandable.
She swam as a veteran at state on Saturday, and it showed. The Newton-Colfax-Mingo-Pella sophomore made the medal stand by placing fifth in the 100-yard butterfly in 58.98 seconds — a new school record.
“It feels awesome,” she said. “I’ve been mentally preparing myself all week for this. Last year I was really nervous coming in as a freshman and not knowing what to expect. This year, I kept telling myself it was just another meet. I was really calm.”
Scotton placed 20th in the same event last year in 1:01.70. Her time Saturday was 1.21 seconds faster than the seed time she posted at regionals one week earlier. As a good omen, she even graced the cover of the state swimming program as its feature photo.
“She was ready,” Aquagirls coach Sarah Patterson said. “She said she wasn’t even nervous. Just excited to swim. She was that way all week.”
Scotton’s swim highlighted a day for NCMP that ended perhaps the best season in school history. The team had seven entrants across six events, comprised of five different swimmers. Six of those entrants scored points, and at the end of the day, the Aquagirls finished 17th in the team standings with 43 points. Thirty-four teams scored on Saturday, and there are 55 teams in Iowa.
NCMP placed 22nd last year with 23 points.
“It’s a good place to be,” Patterson said about where the team finished. “We always feel like we’re clawing to get a little bit more, a little higher place. I thought our girls performed well.”
“Our team deserved it,” Scotton added. “We worked really hard all season. Everyone has put in 100 percent every single set and in every little thing in practice.”
The Aquagirls had five individual entrants and two relays.
The first event NCMP competed in was the 200 freestyle, where junior Carly Colville swam in the first heat. She took fifth in the heat and 21st overall in 2:01.09. Two events later, freshman Samantha Hedrick had the first of her four swims in the day — the 50 freestyle. She was seeded eighth and placed ninth in 24.97 seconds and picked up nine points for the Aquagirls.
Colville and Scotton were up next in the 100 butterfly, swimming in the second and third heats, respectively. NCMP picked up big points in the event as Scotton’s school-record time placed her fifth and Colville placed 13th in 1:01.50. The two combined for 14 points in the event.
“Working with a faster seed time this year was fun,” Scotton said, referring to swimming in the third heat after being in the first heat last year.
Colville’s time in the 100 butterfly, as well as the 200 freestyle, were slower than her seed times, but Patterson said it’s something that will fuel her for next year.
“Carly gave her absolute best effort,” she said. “We’re just going to work on being a little more confident in these big meets. She can do it. I know she can. She’s got it in her. We all just need to work together to bring it out.”
Hedrick was up again next in the 100 freestyle, where she picked up three points for the team and placed 14th in 54.64 seconds. That put the Aquagirls in 13th place with five events remaining.
Two events later, NCMP was up in the second heat of the 200 freestyle relay. The foursome of Colville, sophomore Rachel Prendergast, Scotton and Hedrick took sixth in its heat and 14th place overall in 1:42.29 — just .04 hundreths behind its seed time. That gained the Aquagirls five more points.
NCMP’s final swim of the day was in the day’s final event — the 400 freestyle relay. There, the squad of Colville, Prendergast, freshman Sydney Jenkins and Hedrick took fourth in the second heat and 13th place overall in 3:44.28. That picked up eight points for the team to give the Aquagirls a total of 43.
No. 1-ranked Ames performed as expected, winning its third straight state championship with 274 points. Runner-up Pleasant Valley was 50 points back and West Des Moines Valley was third (192).
Team Standings (34 teams scored)
1, Ames 274; 2, Pleasant Valley 224; 3, West Des Moines Valley 192; 4, Dowling Catholic 180.5; 5, Cedar Falls 165; 6, Johnston 148; 7, Mason City 116; 8, Dubuque Senior 113; 9, Bettendorf 111; 10, Iowa City West 106; 11, Waukee 97; 12, Lewis Central 82; 13, Des Moines North 77; 14, Cedar Rapids Kennedy 60; 15, Linn-Mar 45; 15, Ankeny 45; 17, Newton/Colfax/Mingo/Pella 43; 18, Sioux City Metro 37; 18, Southeast Polk 37; 20, Spencer/Spirit Lake 33.
200-yard freestyle: Carly Colville — 21st, 2:01.09. 50 freestyle: Samantha Hedrick — ninth, 24.97 seconds. 100 butterfly: Hannah Scotton — fifth, 58.98 seconds; Carly Colville — 13th, 1:01.50. 100 freestyle: Hedrick — 14th, 56.64 seconds. 200 freestyle relay: Colville, Rachel Prendergast, Scotton, Hedrick — 14th, 1:42.29. 400 freestyle relay: Colville, Prendergast, Sydney Jenkins Hedrick — 13th, 3:44.28.