November 27, 2022

NCMP finishes seventh against tough field at Tiger Tanker

Lillie Ray leads Aquagirls at West Des Moines Valley

WEST DES MOINES — The Newton-Colfax-Mingo-Pella girls swim team is in the part of the season that usually brings the biggest grind to the pool.

The Aquagirls are one week removed from Homecoming and they tried to compete one day after a big football game.

The end result was a seventh-place finish at the annual Tiger Tanker Invitational hosted by West Des Moines Valley on Saturday.

“The girls competed hard so I have no complaints about their effort,” NCMP girls swim coach Sarah Patterson said. “However, as a team, I felt we swam a little flat. This part of the season is always a little bit of a grind — we come off Homecoming and there was a huge football game on Friday night — and we were feeling all of that a little bit on Saturday.”

The meet featured four of the top 10 teams in the state. No. 16 NCMP scored 157.5 points in seventh.

Top-ranked Waukee won the meet with 476 points. The rest of the top five featured second-ranked Dowling Catholic (428), sixth-ranked Ankeny (297), seventh-ranked Valley (260.5) and No. 13 Sioux City Metro (212).

No. 17 Council Bluffs Lewis Central (161) edged the Aquagirls in sixth. Grinnell/BGM/Baxter (35) and Atlantic (7) completed the nine-team field.

“This was a really high-powered meet with four of the top 10 teams in the state in attendance,” Patterson said. “We had one swimmer who placed in the top six.”

That swimmer was Lillie Ray. She tied for fifth in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 26.08 seconds. She also tied for eighth in the 100 freestyle in 57.6.

“She had a strong race competing from lane 1,” Patterson said about Ray in the 50. “She has been working really hard lately and has been very goal-focused. We just have to keep working through this grind phase of the season.”

The next best individual finish came from Harper Barton, who was seventh in the 100 breaststroke. She finished in 1 minute, 11.58 seconds.

The Aquagirls recorded three other individual top-10 finishes.

Peyton Ray was 10th in the 100 freestyle, just .15 seconds behind her older sister. Her time was clocked in 57.75.

Tori White finished 10th in the 100 backstroke in 1:05.82 and Maylei Ruggles was 10th in the 100 butterfly in 1:05.72.

NCMP also finished sixth in all three relays.

In the 200 medley relay, the foursome of White, Barton, Ruggles and Paige Benson hit the wall in 1:59.64.

Barton, Ruggles, Peyton Ray and Lillie Ray were sixth in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:45.51.

The Aquagirls’ team of Ruggles, Peyton Ray, White and Lillie Ray was sixth in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:56.46.

“I told the girls we have to get back to work and really train tough for the last part of the season,” Patterson said. “We have been working on our speed and our under waters and now it’s time to put in some meters and make a last push for our endurance. I think they’re up for the challenge.”

NCMP will host Oskaloosa and Perry for Senior Night at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Newton YMCA.

“We would love to see fans pack the pool,” Patterson said. “There also is race an Aquagirl after the meet.  So, anyone who wants to race one of our swimmers is welcome to give it a try.”