Prep Sports

City High's Heidi Stalkfleet gives high school swimming a try

Little Hawk junior qualified for state in 500 free, 100 fly

Iowa City High's Heidi Stalkfleet swims in the 500-yard freestyle during the regional girls' swimming meet the Linn-Mar
Iowa City High’s Heidi Stalkfleet swims in the 500-yard freestyle during the regional girls’ swimming meet the Linn-Mar last Saturday. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Heidi Stalkfleet has been doing IFLY club swimming for years, but with recent cancellations because of the pandemic she decided to take up high school swimming this fall.

“Heidi’s got a great work ethic and I think she’s really honest with herself about that,” said Zane Hugo, City High’s coach. “She knows when she’s working hard and when she’s not, and she expects herself to work hard and that’s one of the main drivers of her success.”

At City High’s first dual, on Sept. 1, Stalkfleet broke two of City High’s oldest school records with a 5:01:48 in the 500-yard freestyle and a 1:53:38 in the 200 free.

“You don’t see that very often in high school swimming,” Hugo said. “... you usually see records that are broken at the end of the season so she’s definitely one of the most skilled and competitive athletes that I’ve ever coached, and I’m excited to see how she does.”

She qualified for this weekend’s state meet in Marshalltown in the 500 free and 100 butterfly.

“Sometimes you don’t want to do something but you just gotta put your head down and do it,” Stalkfleet said of the two-practice-a-day schedule during the regular season. “(Swimming) is also a stress reliever. If I’m really stressed with school I can go to practice and not have to worry about it.”

Hugo reached out to Stalkfleet earlier this year about joining the City High team.

“One of my goals is always to get the best athletes to join the team and, this way, ... she is able to get the training she needs to be successful, but is also able to work with coaches and teams that are willing to do what it takes and work together for her to be successful,” Hugo said.

Stalkfleet said there is a difference between City High and club swimming.

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“With City High, there’s a lot of different levels of people, but we all come together as one team,” she said, “versus with I Fly we’re all separated into our specific groups by level.

“The club is a lot more individualized.”

Stalkfleet hopes to compete in the 2021 Olympic Trials held in Omaha, June 13-20. She also looks forward to the state meet.

“I really love the feeling of working toward goals and when I reach it, there’s always somewhere higher (to go),” Stalkfleet said. “It makes me feel super determined and hardworking, I feel like swimming gives me a purpose every day.”

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