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CEDAR RAPIDS — The Cedar Rapids Kennedy girls’ swimming team has never shied away from tough competition.
The Cougars received a healthy dose of it at their invitational.
Kennedy won two events, was runner-up in three more and placed third in the Cougar Invitational with 388 points Saturday at the Kennedy pool.
“We survived,” Kennedy Coach John Ross said. “Everybody gave great effort so I am really happy with our kids.”
Pleasant Valley and Johnston won five events apiece and claimed the top two spots. The Spartans – state runners-up last season and champion two years ago – were led by sophomore Libby Staver, who claimed individual titles in the 200-yard freestyle and the 500 as her team won the invitational for the third year in a row with 572 points.
Johnston – which placed third overall at the state meet last season – was second with 461.5, highlighted by a pair of triple-event winners in seniors Lexi Horner and Lexie Winnett.
“It was great having great competition coming in,” Ross said. “PV and Johnston are just awesome, deep teams.”
Kennedy senior diver Jayden Lovell earned the first event victory for the Cougars with an impressive victory over defending diving state champion Claire Park of Pleasant Valley, 443.55 to 430.15.
“She was consistent today,” Ross said. “I was really pleased to see her consistency from dive to dive.”
Kennedy’s other victory arrived in a thrilling 200 freestyle relay time of 1:42.37, 38 hundredths of a second better than Pleasant Valley. Kennedy junior Mackinzee Macho anchored the Cougar relay unit of Darby Manternach, Maddie Bagby and Kassidy Lovig.
“The harder we work, the better we will place as a team,” Macho said. “It’s a little bit nerve-racking, but I like being last just because it is all on my shoulders and I am like, ‘OK, I got this. I can do this’ and my adrenaline is all pumped up, so that really helps me to perform well.”
Kennedy – which placed 10th as a team at state last season – leaned heavily on its talented corps of returners as Macho (100 butterfly), Bagby (100 free) and Jessica Williams (100 backstroke) each placed second in an individual event.
Williams (100 butterfly) and Manternach (50 free) also collected a third-place finish.
Iowa City West placed fourth overall with 245 points, highlighted by a third-place performance in the 500 free by junior Melanie Housenga, who also anchored the Women of Troy to third in the 200 free relay.
Decorah freshman Emma Bachelder placed third in the 100 free and the 100 breaststroke for the fifth-place Vikings (241 points).
Iowa City High freshman Carly Weigel placed fifth in the 50 free for the Little Hawks, who were sixth as a team with 187 points.
Cedar Rapids Jefferson placed seventh overall (174.50), highlighted by a fifth-place performance in the 100 butterfly from junior Josie Thompson.
At C.R. Kennedy
Teams – 1. Pleasant Valley 572, 2. Johnston 461.5, 3. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 388, 4. Iowa City West 245, 5. Decorah 241, 6. Iowa City High 187, 7. Cedar Rapids Jefferson 174.5, 8. Williamsburg 20.
(top 3 plus top area finisher)
Diving – 1. Jayden Lovell (CRK), 443.55; 2. Claire Park (PV), 430.15; 3. Andrea Adam (ICH), 366.00.
200 medley relay – 1. Pleasant Valley (Aviana Zahara, Christy Bishop, Libby Staver, Perapa Chotiprasidhi), 1:50.15; 3. Johnston (Angela Cary, Lexi Horner, Lexie Winnett, Jenna Krahn), 1:52.70; 3. Pleasant Valley B (Danielle Nauman, Emily Goodman, Ali Staver, Lauren Groenenboom), 1:53.34; 4. C.R. Kennedy (Jessica Williams, Raquel Green, Mackinzee Macho, Darby Manternach), 1:54.49.
200 free – 1. L. Staver (PV), 1:58.54; 2. Cary (Johns), 1:59.31; 3. Madison Batkiewicz (Johns), 2:01.08; 4. Maddie Bagby (CRK), 2:03.23.
200 IM – 1. Horner (Johns), 2:08.62; 2. A. Staver (PV), 2:14.24; 3. Kendall Hostetler (Johns), 2:16.61; 5. Melanie Housenga (ICW), 2:17.75.
50 free – 1. Winnett (Johns), 24.35; 2. Zahara (PV), 25.35; 3. Manternach (CRK), 25.53.
100 butterfly – 1. A. Staver (PV), 59.74; 2. Macho (CRK), 1:00.63; 3. Williams (CRK), 1:01.72.
500 free – 1. L. Staver (PV), 5:13.67; 2. Batkiewicz (Johns), 5:24.99; 3. Housenga (ICW), 5:27.21.
200 free relay – 1. C.R. Kennedy (Manternach, Bagby, Kassidy Lovig, Macho), 1:42.75; 2. Pleasant Valley (Chotiprasidhi, Nauman, Groenenboom, Bishop), 1:42.75; 3. I.C. West (Lily Ernst, Elaina Martz, Alleyna Thomas, Housenga), 1:43.68.
100 backstroke – 1. Zahara (PV), 59.51; 2. Williams (CRK), 1:00.15; 3. Cary (Johns), 1:02.73.
100 breaststroke – 1. Horner (Johns), 1:06.29; 2. Bishop (PV), 1:10.15; 3. Emma Bachelder (Dec), 1:10.37.
400 free relay – 1. Johnston (Horner, Cary, Olivia White, Winnett), 3:40.72; 2. Pleasant Valley (A. Staver, Chotiprasidhi, Zahara, L. Staver), 3:44.43; 3. Decorah (Madelyn Jermier, Amelia Folkedahl, Katie Hagensick, Bachelder), 3:53.77.
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