Girl swimmers stay afloat

While the majority of the student body is fast asleep, a miraculous event occurs almost every morning. To most people, this strange occurrence is unthinkable, and borderline-crazy. At 5:45 A.M. every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, approximately 60 swimmers flock to the dome of Ames High. When the pace clock’s glowing red light shines, the girls of the Ames High swim team find themselves submerged in the icy waters they have come to know all too well. “School is a lot is harder during the season,” junior Emily Downard said. “We are very tired during the day.” School is their daily break from swimming. Along with the hour and a half practice in the morning, the girls swim another two to two-and-a-half hours after school. The girls add on to their already vigorous schedule by waking up on their precious Saturdays to get in two more hours of practice. “Practices are tough. We usually lift weights, do dry land exercises, and then get in the pool,” Downard said. The hard work the girls have put in have paid off, with a terrific start to the season. With only one loss to West Des Moines Valley, a tie to Johnston and wins every other meet, Ames has the makings of a great team. The girls won their own invitational for the first time since 1991. Strength lies in all ages. “Maddie Bro and Rachel Shriver are very strong freshmen,” Downard said. Bro broke the school record for the 100 yard backstroke in her first two attempts at the event. Bro, Shriver, sophomore Chrisann Zuerner, and senior Stephanie Koch hold the Ames High 400-yard freestyle school record. Sophomores Zuerner, Abby Rewoldt and Charlotte Quant look to return strong from state-tournament appearances as freshmen. “It was really cool!” Said Quant. “I didn’t really expect to make it, and it was overwhelming being able to compete with the best in Iowa. I am so excited to go back. Everything about it was so intense and crazy.” There is no state experience in the junior class, but Lauren Bonett hopes to qualify this year in the 50-yard freestyle. The senior class has two returning state participants, Koch and Taylor Steenblock. Koch holds 6 individual school records and 3 school relay records, and is on no pace to slow down. Senior Jill Joerger is also a strong contender for a spot on the state team in the 100-yard breaststroke. A 6th place finish at last years state meet puts high hopes in the minds of the swimmers and the fans. Coach Dan Flannery and assistant coach Abby Van Maaren are tough and know the sport of swimming. Look for a well-rounded swim team, with strengths in almost every event, to keep on winning, and send a tough team to state on November 8th.