The Ames High girls swim team approached the state championship this year with the passing of their long-time coach, Dan Flannery, on their mind. Flannery passed away in July 2020, just before the season kicked off. A legendary figure in the swimming community, he led the girls’ program to 8 state titles and the boys to one in 2018. The loss of Flannery continues to weigh heavily not only on the school community, but the Ames community at large.
Long-time assistant coach, Joe Fisher, took over the program and steered the Little Cyclones’ 2020 season. The girls managed the added precautions of COVID-19 on a day-to-day basis. Eventually, they navigated their way to the state championship meet, held annually in Marshalltown the weekend of November 13-14.
Based on qualifying times, the Ames High team knew they would be in contention for another title in a two-team race against Iowa City West. The 200 Yard Medley Relay of Annie Galvin, Lauren Fisher, Mia Moulden, and Gracie Wessleman placed second with a time of 1:46.77, narrowly missing a state title by .03. A couple of races later, Galvin placed second in the 200 Yard Individual Medley, with Moulden adding a 5th place finish.
Junior Meghan Donald proved that she was the fastest swimmer at the meet by winning the state title in the 50 Yard Freestyle with a sub-23 second time of 22.99. She followed that up two races later by winning the 100 Yard Freestyle. Through 6 of 12 events, the Little Cyclones took the team lead and never looked back.
Moulden placed second in the 100 Yard Butterfly and Galvin again placed second, this time in the 100 Yard Backstroke. The 200 Yard Freestyle Relay team of Moulden, Wesselmann, Donald, and Mikayla Kloth placed second. Heading into the final event, the 400 Yard Freestyle Relay Team essentially just needed to complete the race for another state title. Galvin, Donald, Kloth, Sophie McCorkle, knew this. They played it safe, ensuring that each transition was legal, and placed third in the event.
When the race ended, the celebration began. With the pressure subsided, tears of joy ran across the team. They had truly “swam for Dan” this season. It was a celebration of another state title, but one they did for Flannery. Coach Fisher and his assistants did everything right this season. They were voted Coaching Staff of the Year by the Iowa High School Swim Coaches Association. Congratulations to the Ames High Girls Swim Team on winning another State Championship.
This was the ninth team title in 11 years for the girls swim program and 91st state title in Ames High athletics history.