Prep Sports

Iowa girls' state swimming preview: New schedule, more qualifiers in 2018

Iowa City West top-ranked team in area, but behind Central Iowa powers

Iowa City West’s Aurora Roghair swims the anchor leg of the 200 yard freestyle relay during a IGHSAU Regional Swimming and Diving meet at the Linn-Mar Aquatic Center in Marion on Saturday, October 27, 2018. Iowa City West won with a time of 1:38.90. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Iowa City West’s Aurora Roghair swims the anchor leg of the 200 yard freestyle relay during a IGHSAU Regional Swimming and Diving meet at the Linn-Mar Aquatic Center in Marion on Saturday, October 27, 2018. Iowa City West won with a time of 1:38.90. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

MARSHALLTOWN — For Iowa City West’s Aurora Roghair, the waiting could be the hardest part.

Swimming is a sport of routine, but there will be a new routine for the Iowa Girls State Swimming and Diving Meet, scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the Marshalltown YMCA.

In past years, all swimming events had been three heats of timed finals on Saturday with the diving competition held on Friday night. This year, a format change has preliminary individual swimming events being held Friday, starting at 5:30 p.m. with 32 qualifiers in each event, up from 24 in the past. The top 16 prelim finishers advance to Saturday’s two-heat finals at 4 p.m.

“It’s going to be different,” said Roghair, who is seeded fourth in the 200- and 500-yard freestyles. “I’m used to doing prelims in the morning and finals at night (in club swimming events). We’ll see how this goes. There is a long time to sit and think about the finals.”

Roghair’s coach, Byron Butler, agrees with his sophomore standout.

“The weird thing is having the prelims on Friday then not having the finals until Saturday afternoon,” he said. “That’s a big gap and it is unique because it is usually the same day swimming prelim and finals.”

Diving will be held Saturday at 9 a.m. and the three relays will be four heats of timed finals on Saturday.

Ames, winner of three straight state titles and seven of the last eight, and West Des Moines Dowling are expected to battle it out for the team title. West is the top area team in the power rankings, sitting eighth entering the season finale.

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Roghair, a sophomore, and freshman Scarlet Martin, who has the No. 2 seed times in the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly, will lead the Women of Troy, along with junior Lily Ernst, seeded fourth in the 200 IM and fifth in the 100 butterfly. West’s 400 freestyle relay also is seeded fifth.

Butler said strong performances in the preliminaries will be key for West. Many of his swimmers were not fully rested for last Saturday’s regional meet so he believes they have more to show.

“I like to think we’ll be able to make some good adjustments between those two sessions for those girls fortunate enough to get that second swim,” Butler said. “My mentality as a coach is that you get it done in prelims. The points are scored in prelims. We’re all in for that first session on Friday night and I’m excited to see what we can do.”

Cedar Rapids Kennedy interim co-coach Igor Sanchez doesn’t believe having an extra swim will be a problem for any of the athletes.

“They are very excited about qualifying and are looking forward to the meet,” he said. “I don’t think having to swim an extra race will bother any of them because swimming is what they do.”

Cedar Rapids Washington senior Ayla Taylor is seeded second in diving and Linn-Mar’s Megan Norris is fifth. Iowa City High’s Carly Weigel has the fourth best seed time in 100 backstroke while teammate Olivia Masterson has the fourth best performance in the 100 breaststroke. City High’s 200 freestyle relay is seeded fifth.

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