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Waukee swimmers gear up for state

Sam Martin/DCN Maddie Gehrke and Waukee are setting their sights high for this weekend’s state swim meet in Marshalltown.Buy Photo
Sam Martin/DCN Maddie Gehrke and Waukee are setting their sights high for this weekend’s state swim meet in Marshalltown.

Waukee will have a school-record number of entries when it hits the Marshalltown YMCA pool this weekend for the state swim meet.

The Warriors picked up 13 entries in 11 of 12 events after a second-place finish at Johnston’s regional meet on Nov. 2, up three from last season. They are aiming for their first top-10 team finish. Waukee was 11th, with 97 points, last season.

“We are really hoping for a top-10 finish,” coach Shelley Twigg said. “That was our goal last year and we just missed it.”

Junior Maddie Gehrke is out to defend her state championship in the 50-yard freestyle after capturing Waukee’s first state title in the pool last season. She is seeded second, trailing only Bettendorf senior Maddy Burnham, who finished second to Gehrke in the event last season.

“Maddie needs a perfect 50 race,” Twigg said. “She needs to be strong off the blocks, have a perfect turn and be first into the wall.

“She can repeat, but Maddy Burnham is a tough competitor. It’s always fun watching them compete.”

Gehrke also qualified third in the 100 freestyle and will swim on two of the Warriors’ relays. She anchored the fourth-seeded 400 freestyle relay team to a second-place finish in regionals, joining Camryn Somers, Jenny Brown and Ellie Blazenko for a time of 3:36.30. She’ll also swim the third leg of Waukee’s sixth-seeded 200 medley relay team, with Maddy Bridges, Tori Bussanmas and Somers.

Brown will be aiming for her fourth medal in the500 freestyle, an event in which she is seeded ninth. She will also swim in the 200 freestyle. Blazenko is an entrant in the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly, while Somers will swim in the 50 freestyle.

Zoe Bussanmas will swim in the 100 breaststroke, and will join Somers, Brown and Maddie McCormick on the 200 freestyle relay team.

“All the girls are ready,” Twigg said. “This is what they work for all year. The field is fast, but so are we. I am excited.”

Juniors Maddie Piechowski and Jilian Loos will kick off the meet at the Marshalltown YMCA on Friday in the diving competition. The swim events follow on Saturday.

The Warriors were second to Johnston, which shares a program with Dallas Center-Grimes, at last week’s regional meet. DC-G sophomore Natalie Lammers qualified for two state events: the 500 freestyle, in which she is seeded eighth, and the 200 freestyle.

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