WEST DES MOINES — Swim regional 2013 began with a school-record and ended with a school-record for the NCMP Aquagirls Saturday. In between were four other school record swims, a 1-2-3 sweep in the 100-yard butterfly race, 10 individual regional medals and three relay-team medals.
Newton/Colfax-Mingo/Pella qualified for the 2013 state swim meet in five events. The Aquagirls will take all three relay teams to the state meet this coming Saturday, Nov. 9, in Marshalltown. There will be three girls swimming in two individual events at state for the Aquagirls.
“We’ve never had a meet like this,” said Sarah Patterson, NCMP head coach. “Every single girl swimming for us today either had a season’s best or personal-best time. The girls were relaxed and confident. We told them this past week that we’re not little fish in a big pond. We’ve had an awesome season so let’s go in and swim big at regional. Man, did they swim big today.”
Patterson and assistant coach Chris Forsyth were named 2013 Regional Meet Coaching Staff of the Year. The Aquagirls finished third as a team with 336 points. Meet host West Des Moines Valley High won the team championship with 476 points and Des Moines Roosevelt was second at 339.
The Valley High swimming pool was a fast pool all day for all those in the regional meet.
NCMP put that to the test in the opening event of the regional — the 200-yard medley relay. The Aquagirl foursome of junior Hannah Scotton and sophomores Sydney Jenkins, Hannah Rhoads and Samantha Hedrick was seeded No. 3 heading into the competition.
Jenkins opened with the backstroke leg and NCMP was in third place in a close race with Valley and Des Moines Roosevelt. Rhoads’ breaststroke leg kept pace then Scotton went in for the butterfly leg. It was a dead-even between NCMP and Valley when the final swimmers dived in.
“I was excited about how well we did and excited we’re going to state,” Jenkins said of the medley relay.
Hedrick broke to the lead in the freestyle but at the turn it was still a three-way race. Hedrick pushed out again, and this time, touched ahead of Valley. The Aquagirls set a new school record for the 200-yard medley relay in 1 minute, 50.45 seconds. Valley, which was seeded No. 1, took second in 1:51.29.
As a freshman, Scotton combined with Sidney Griffith, Ellen Colville and Carly Colville for the previous 200-yard medley relay mark for NCMP, 1:54.10 in 2011.
“This was the relay that woke me up last night thinking ‘those girls have a chance,’” Patterson said. “At one point, we were third and they brought it home. To break a school record by four seconds is unheard of in a 200 medley. That got us going. It was one swim after another.”
The Aquagirl trio of Scotton, Hedrick and senior Carly Colville were seeded 1-2-3 in the 100-yard butterfly. Coming out of the first break of the regional meet, the NCMP three did not disappoint.
Scotton took the lead with Hedrick and Colville right on her sides as the three worked the three middle lanes of the pool. Scotton defended her regional championship in NCMP-record time of 57.90, breaking her on mark of 58.98 set in 2012.
“I wouldn’t have been able to have done it without Samantha and Carly. We’ve been practicing hard all season, pushing each other. Now, we’ll see how state goes,” Scotton said. Scotton placed fifth at state in the 100-yard butterfly a year ago.
Hedrick also went under the old record time. She placed second in 58.61 seconds. Colville was third in 1:01.78.
“It was just ‘go get it’ for us all,” Hedrick said of the butterfly race for her and her teammates.
Colville made the medal podium in the 200-yard freestyle race with a NCMP-record swim of 1:59.92 for fifth place. The previous 200-yard freestyle mark for NCMP was 2:00.36 set by Ellen Colville in 2009.
In earlier heats of the 200-yard freestyle competition, NCMP’s freshman Sarah Prendergast, who won her heat, and junior Rachel Prendergast recorded times for 2:07.51 and 2:06.09, respectively. Rachel Prendergast finished 10th and Sarah Prendergast was 11th.
Six medals are awarded at regionals.
Junior Sara Martin finished seventh in the 200-yard individual medley event. She finished the race in 2:20.57, and the sixth-place time was 2:20.15. Rhoads ended up ninth in 2:22 and sophomore Sierra Griffith placed 14th in 2:28.77.
Scotton and Jenkins went fifth and sixth in the 50-yard freestyle. Scotton’s time was 25.45 seconds and Jenkins finished in 25.72 seconds. Sophomore Kaelee Knoll was 16th in 26.82.
Rachel Prendergast earned the regional fifth-place medal in the 100-yard freestyle race in 56.68 seconds. Freshman Emily Miller finished 12th in 59.35 seconds and junior Kira Hanson was 19th in 1:02.28.
Senior Emily Forsyth swam her final race for NCMP at the regional meet. Forsyth placed 17th in the 500-yard freestyle race in 6:16.32. Sophomore Elizabeth Myers was 12th in the event in 5:45.88 and Sarah Prendergast was 14th in 5:48.84.
Next in the pool for the Aquagirls Saturday was the 200-yard freestyle relay team of Colville, Martin, Hedrick and Scotton. Colville, Hedrick and Scotton were out to qualify for a second straight state meet in the event. Martin was there to help.
“We were all excited to swim today plus we were trying to pump our team back up. Our energy level had gone down a bit,” Martin said.
Colville led off the relay, putting the Aquagirls in second place, where they would stay most of the race. Martin hit the water next followed by Hedrick and Scotton. Scotton out-touched Des Moines Roosevelt’s Mckenna Lynch for second place. Valley won the race in 1:38.57.
“We really wanted to get the school record because it’s been one of our goals this season,” Colville said. “We were trying to get second in this race and we pushed it to the end. We touched them out by three one-hundredths of a second. I’ve very proud of the girls. They’ve been working so hard all season and I’m proud to call them my team.”
NCMP’s new school mark in the 200-yard freestyle relay is 1:40.26. Des Moines Roosevelt’s time was 1:40.29.
The 200-yard freestyle relay record was one of the oldest on the NCMP board — 1:42.09 set in 2002 by the team of Molly Tomlonovic, Nicole Beyer, Amanda Wetter and Emily Bensink.
“Just wanting to break the school record, we just went out and pushed each other,” Hedrick said.
“We knew we had to take it out hard and swim just as hard at the end,” Scotton said. Scotton, Colville, Martin and Hedrick also own the NCMP 200-meter freestyle relay record.
The fifth NCMP record to fall at the regional meet was in the 100-yard backstroke. Jenkins is NCMP’s top swimmer in the event and her top time in the event was 1:03.29. Saturday, the sophomore shaved almost two seconds off that, going 1:01.99 for the fourth-place medal.
“I was so excited when I finished but I didn’t know what my time was. I couldn’t find it on the board at first then I saw it. I really worked hard to get the record,” Jenkins said. The old record was 1:02.49 set by Ellen Colville in 2011.
Also in the backstroke event, Hanson placed ninth in 1:06.50 and Knoll was 12th in 1:09.51.
Rhoads and Griffith earned regional medals in the 100-yard breaststroke. Rhoads finished fourth in 1:11.39 and Griffith, who won her heat, was sixth in 1:11.96. Martin placed seventh in the event in 1:12.09.
That brought the meet to its final event — the 400-yard relay. The NCMP foursome of Colville, Rachel Prendergast, Jenkins and Hedrick was out to qualify for state for the second year in a row plus lower the school mark (3:43.31) they set in 2012.
“We knew we had a chance at the school record and we went for it,” Jenkins said. “I’m always more relaxed in the relays.”
The Aquagirls again touched right before Des Moines Roosevelt in the 400-yard relay race. NCMP took second in 3:41.56, setting a new school record, and Roosevelt was third in 3:41.85.
NCMP had to wait until all the regional results were in from across the state. Regional champions earn a state berth then it comes down to times.
It was official Saturday evening — all three of the NCMP relays are headed to the state meet along with Scotton and Hedrick in the butterfly and Jenkins in the backstroke.