Ames High boys swim to first place at Conference

When it comes to Ames High Boys swimming, there’s really nothing bad you can say. With only one meet left before State, they have maintained an undefeated streak in dual meets and took a strong first place finish at Conference last Saturday. So far the swimmers have cruised by several teams with no problems, including several CIML conference teams like Valley and Marshalltown. When asked about their conference’s difficulty, senior Zach Bridges said “it’s not that hard,” and “Valley is a big meet but they lost a lot of seniors last year.” Valley wasn’t the only team to lose a lot of key swimmers. The Little Cyclone boy’s swim team loss several state qualifiers but they have not been at a loss. “Our juniors and sophomores are really good,” Bridges said. “The depth of our underclassmen helps a lot.” Last year Ames took 7th place at State, one point behind Pleasant Valley. They placed in the top 5 in several races, with most of the qualifiers being underclassmen. Scott Strehlow, Ben Utesch and Steve Stark all placed in several events as sophomores. This year the team is looking for a top three finish at the state meet in Marshalltown. But before state they’ll have to do well at districts. “We want to qualify in every event” said Bridges “We’re in a new district this year so the competition will be more fierce. This could be a good thing or a bad thing.” The boys swim team is currently ranked 5th in the power ratings, right behind Johnston, Cedar Falls, Pleasant Valley and Bettendorf. Bettendorf is currently rated number 1, and they took the state championship last year without winning a single individual event. The Little Cyclone swim team hopes that the depth from a young team last year can come through this year. With districts on February 2nd and State on the 9th they hope to carry on the success they’ve been having all season. Ames High swimmers won seven out of the eleven events at their conference meet in Marshalltown on January 20th. Ames scored 317 points, with Valley taking second with 253 points. Ames High’s Ben Utesh and Scott Strehlow each won two indiviudal events. Utesh with the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, and Strehlow with the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle.