116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Byron Butler's message made some of his veteran swimmers nervous.
As Saturday's Mississippi Valley Conference girls’ swimming meet at the Hal Krizan-Jim Voss Pool on the Cedar Rapids Washington campus was nearing its end, Butler let his Iowa City West team know just where they stood entering the 400-yard freestyle relay.
The Trojans held just an 11-point lead over a young, developing Cedar Falls team.
“They have such a good, young, talented group,” Butler said of the Tigers. “They really put a scare into us. I told them halfway through the meet that this Cedar Falls team came to swim today.
“They said I made them too nervous, but they totally stepped up and came through when called upon.”
Led by senior Jade Roghair and junior Kolby Reese, West came up big in the final two relays to claim its fifth straight league title. The Trojans won just four of 12 events, but used their depth to finish with 409 points. Cedar Falls was second (390), followed by Linn-Mar with 289.
“It is so good to have those veterans who can step up on those relays and get things done,” Butler said. “They were able to pop off those performances when we needed them the most.”
Roghair was strong in her final conference meet. She was a part of all four West wins, taking the 200 freestyle (1:56.09) and the 500 freestyle (5:09.83). She also anchored the winning efforts in the 200 and 400 free relays.
Butler credited Roghair with closing the meet out for West, but was quick to point out the performances of others that put the Trojans in position to defend their title.
“That layer of depth, people like Kolby, Makala (Hajek), Ave (Bilskemper), we had some step-up swims from so many people up and down our roster,” he said. “Maddy Grueter ended up (finishing third) in the (100) fly. That's a name not many people have heard all year.”
The individual star of the meet was Linn-Mar's Hayley Kimmel. The Lion senior set a pair of conference records in winning the 200 individual medley (2:06.83) and the 100 breaststroke (1:04.39). That broke the mark set by former Linn-Mar swimmer Hayley Fry in 2004.
Kimmel, a University of Iowa commit, was surprised by her times.
“My sinuses were really clogged up today and I was coughing a lot,” she said. “I wasn't really sure how I was going to do today, but it all turned out really well.
“I was most surprised by my 100 breast time. I haven't been swimming that much lately, but I wasn't as surprised with the 200 IM. I thought I could go 2:06. I really had to push myself on the freestyle. I felt really good and I decided to just roll with it.”
Kimmel was also a part of the Lions’ winning effort in the 200 medley relay (1:51.73). Iowa City High's Grace Hoeper was also a double winner, taking the 50 free (24.37) and 100 butterfly (57.81). Other individual winners were Cedar Falls freshman Taytem Lehmann in the 100 free (55.25) and Dubuque Wahlert's Avery Schmidt (1:00.00) in the 100 backstroke.