Eight days. That’s how long junior Addison Van Maanen had to train for the regional swim meet.
Van Maanen tested positive for mononucleosis on Sept. 26. She missed five weeks and Newton-Colfax-Mingo-Pella head girls’ swim coach Nick Shelton wasn’t sure Van Maanen would be 100 percent ready for the regional meet.
But her performance at Summit Middle School this past Saturday proved Shelton to be wrong and Van Maanen advanced to the state swim meet as an individual qualifier for the first time in her career.
“It doesn’t feel real yet. It might not feel real until I get to the meet,” Van Maanen said. “I will be by myself out there, too. I won’t be able to stand by the blocks with my teammates.”
Van Maanen will be joined by a pair of teammates for Friday’s preliminary session. She qualified for state in the 100-yard breaststroke, sophomore Harper Barton advanced in the 100 freestyle and sophomore Tori White clinched a state berth in the 100 backstroke.
The preliminary round of the Iowa High School State Swimming and Diving Championships begins at 11 a.m. on Friday at the Marshalltown YMCA/YWCA in Marshalltown.
Barton will be the first Aquagirl in the pool on Friday. She’s in an individual state event for the second straight season but will compete in the 100 freestyle for the first time.
“My goal is to make the ‘A’ final and swim on Saturday,” Barton said. “I’m working on my starts, limiting my breaths and powering through it. I need to attack it. That’s my only race for the day so that should help me.”
The top eight finishers from each preliminary event advance to Saturday’s ‘A’ final. The ‘B’ final includes the next best eight times.
Barton’s personal-best time of 54.78 seconds was the 24th-best qualifying time.
The 16th-best time was 54.15 and the eighth-best posted a time of 53.69. Barton will be in lane 8 of Heat 2.
“Top 16 and the ‘B’ final is a good goal,” Shelton said. “I know her goal is the ‘A’ final, which is awesome.”
Like Van Maanen, White is in an individual state event for the first time in her prep career.
Her personal-best time of 1 minute, 2.01 seconds in the 100 backstroke was the 28th-best qualifying time.
The 16th-best qualifying time was 1:00.45 and the eighth-best time was 58.88. White will swim in lane 6 of Heat 1.
“I’m super excited. It would be fun to make the top 16. I think the times are super close,” White said. “My goal is something in the 1:01s, but I’m so close to the 1:00s, too.
“Dropping time and improving my place are the main goals. My turns were a tick slow and my start at Johnston wasn’t that good. I slipped at the start and Marshalltown’s pool has a similar surface. I need to be ready for that. If I fix that and my turns, I should improve.”
Shelton also believes White can make it to the ‘B’ final.
“Her getting into the ‘B’ final would be huge,” Shelton said. “I think she can get the time she wants.”
Barton, White and Van Maanen all are competing at the state meet for the second time. Van Maanen will compete at state in an individual meet only this weekend.
Her goal for the 100 breaststroke is to cut a second or two off her best time. She likes the fact that the preliminary round starts at noon on Friday, too.
“I don’t have to sit around all day and just get more nervous,” Van Maanen said. “I feel like I’m still in a dream. I came back from mono, and I felt rough the first two days. After that, I started building up my endurance slowly and now I’m living in a dream and ready to go. I feel like I’m 100 percent.”
Van Maanen’s time of 1:09.25 qualified her 29th and she will swim in lane 2 of Heat 1. The 16th-best qualifying time was 1:07.41 and the eighth-best time was 1:06.45.
Shelton admitted after the regional meet he underestimated Van Maanen’s ability to return from the illness. He felt like she sort of came out of nowhere.
“It just goes to show you how much she wants it. You could tell at the beginning of the season she was grinding,” Shelton said. “She was one of our hardest workers.
“When I coached her in eighth grade, she was one of the swimmers who messed around a lot. To see her come back and put in as much work as she has, what a turnaround.”