Breaking through to win its first outright North Central Iowa Conference championship in 2012, the Newton-Colfax-Mingo-Pella swim team is ready to defend that title in 2013.
The NCMP Aquagirls are well equiped to do that with five state qualifiers among its 30 returning swimmers. NCMP head coach Sarah Patterson enters her 20th season guiding the team and is excited about the upcoming season.
“We have great senior leadership with 12 seniors on the roster. We have a strong group of state qualifiers back. With 40 out for the team, we’re excited about the newcomers and developing not just swimmers but young women with strong leadership skills,” Patterson said.
Senior Carly Colville, juniors Hannah Scotton and Rachel Prendergast and sophomores Samantha Hedrick and Sydney Jenkins are back in the pool for NCMP. The five qualified in five events at the state swim meet last year.
Scotton is a two-time state qualifier and holds the NCMP record in the 100-yard butterfly race. She was the lone NCMP state medal winner, claiming fifth in the 100 butterfly. Scotton won the event at the district meet, plus was on the third-place 200-yard freestyle relay team for the Aquagirls, which went to state.
Hedrick was the district champion in the 100-yard freestyle and placed second in the 50-yard freestyle race. She also went to state as a member of the 200-yard freestyle and 400-yard freestyle relay teams.
Colville competed in four events at the state meet. At district, she was third in the 100- yard butterfly and in the 200-yard freestyle individual races. She was also on the NCMP two relay teams.
Prendergast and Jenkins qualified for state in the 400-yard freestyle relay, which was second at district. Prendergast also was on the 200-yard freestyle relay team.
Patterson pointed out all five swimmers are team record holders in either individual or relay events.
“Our goal is to take all three relays to state. We missed qualifying the medley relay (Jenkins, Scotton, junior Sara Martin and sophomore Sierra Griffth) by just a hair,” Patterson said. “We want as many state qualifiers as possible each year.”
The other seniors on the squad are Cassi Fitzgerald, Emily Forsyth, Brooke Hamand, Demi Osborn, Grace Perrin, Paige Reed, Amy Roberts, Ellie Rethmeier, Kaitlyn Sorneson, Madeline Wellik and Jandi Westerndorf.
The Aquagirls captured their first conference championship since tying with Decorah in 2005, which was the first year NCMP was in the NCIC. Decorah had won the conference title the other years, but the Aquagirls won seven of the 11 swimming events at the conference meet to claim the title.
“That was huge for us,” Patterson said. “We were 9-1 in dual meets last year, losing to Dowling. So our goals are to defend our conference championship and go 10-0 in dual meets.”
One drawback for NCMP in competition is for the second year, it won’t score points in diving events. Not having a regulation diving board at home in the Newton YMCA pool, the Aquagirls cannot compete in the diving events.
“We give up an automatic 13 points every time we go to an away meet because of the diving meet, which is tough,” Patterson said.
NCMP has four home meets in 2013, starting with the season-opener Aug. 27 against Linn-Mar at the Newton YMCA.