The Ames High Girls Swimming and Diving team were Rev’n for Seven as they entered the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) State Championships. The two day event was held in Marshalltown on November 3-4, and the Little Cyclones entered with an undefeated season with several contenders looking to dethrone Ames as the top program in the state.
This year’s team had the responsibility of carrying history into the State Meet. Since 2010, the Little Cyclones have won 6 state titles, with their only loss coming at the State Meet in 2014 where they were runner up to Pleasant Valley. Since that time, the Little Cyclones have forged ahead with a new winning streak and their eye on a seventh state championship.
Friday night consisted of the diving event where Ames qualified 3 divers in the top 10. The team was led by Jayna Misra, who entered the competition with the second highest qualifying total. After her second of 11 dives, Jayna took the lead and never looked back. Her combined score of 542.45 was the second highest total since 1967 and 57 points better than the runner up finisher. Senior Kaylee Clendenen had her best meet of the year, finishing 6th. The 33 team points earned during the diving portion got Ames off to an early lead in the team competition.
Whereas the diving portion on Friday night had a slow and methodical feel to the evening, the buzz of Saturday morning was absolutely electric, and for good reason. The Little Cyclones kicked the day off right with a win in the 200 Yard Medley Relay, their third consecutive title in that event. The team had two freshman on the relay team, and it marked the beginning to a historic day for senior Sophie Sorensen. She followed up that performance with her second state title of the day in the 200 Yard Individual Medley.
Junior Amy Feddersen kicked off her day in the 50 Yard Freestyle event. This race is won on fractions of a second, and she finished as the runner up, narrowly missing the state title to an Ankeny swimmer by .08 of a second. Two events later, Amy returned the favor and won the 100 Yard Freestyle event. She broke her own Iowa Best Record, and set a new State Meet Record with the time of 49.54. She became the first female swimmer in the state of Iowa to record a time under 50 seconds.
After seven events, the Little Cyclones were pulling away from Dowling Catholic, the closest team competitor. Sophomore Brinley Horras added more points in the marathon 500 Yard Freestyle event where she placed second. In the next event, the 200 Yard Freestyle Relay team narrowly missed the state title by a quarter of a second.
Entering the final stretch of the competition, the depth of the Ames High team came through. After setting an Iowa Best and State Meet Record in 2015, and then tying that time last year, Sophie Sorensen took home the state title in the 100 Yard Backstroke and broke her record with a time of 54.60. It was her third consecutive win in that event, and her third state title of the day. Molly Winer became a state champion in the 100 Yard Breaststroke, her second title of the day. The 400 Yard Freestyle Relay was the final event of the state competition, and the Little Cyclones destroyed the Iowa Best and State Meet Record by nearly 4 second with a time of 3:24.89.
This state championship team ended the meet by winning 7 events and placing second in 3 of the 12 total. Their combined score of 384 points was the highest of any of the previous state titles, and 3 more state records now reside in Ames. Sophie Sorensen was the best swimmer on Saturday, going 4-for-4 in her events, and she capped an amazing career at Ames.
There were many first time accomplishments at this meet for a program that has won 7 state team titles. Sophie Sorenson became the first ever Ames High female state champion in the 200 Individual Medley, Brinley Horras broke the 5:00 barrier in the 500 Free for the first time in school history, and Molly Winer became Ames’ first female state champion in the 100 Breaststroke. Reflecting on the day, Head Coach Dan Flannery said, “I’m so proud of our kids, our coaches, parents, and supporting club in ACAC. This is an individual sport, but it took a team supported by a community to make this kind of history.”
For the Little Cyclones, there are many traditions. But one that the coaching staff love the most is jumping into the pool after a state championship. Flannery said, “Seeing our kids pull together and win like this is truly amazing!”
State Meet Highlights:
- 7 individual state titles, 3 runner up finishes
- Sophie Sorensen goes 4-for-4 in her events and set new state records in 2 events
- Amy Feddersen became first female swimmer in the state of Iowa to break 50 seconds in the 100 Yard Freestyle
- The 400 Yard Freestyle Relay broke previous state record by 4 seconds
- Team scored 384 points, the second highest total since 1967