Sophomore Peyton Ray was not expecting to be an individual state qualifier when she left the Waukee YMCA after last Saturday’s regional meet.
In fact, Ray didn’t even have his name announced as a podium finisher during state qualifying.
“I was really shocked. I thought if I made it an individual event it would be the 200m freestyle because there are so many swimmers who are so close to each other in the 100m,” said Ray said “I knew I wasn’t going to make it in the 200, so I never really thought about the 100. Then my mom said, what was I like?”
A few hours after the regionals, Ray indeed learned that she had qualified as a State in an individual event for the first time. She is joined by the Newton-Colfax-Mingo-Pella women’s swim team by senior Lillie Ray and rookie Harper Barton.
The preliminary round for the Iowa High School Girls State Swimming Championships individual events will begin at 11 a.m. Friday at the Marshalltown YMCA in Marshalltown. The top 16 times from each event qualify for Saturday’s final round.
Lillie Ray returns to the State meet in the 50-yard freestyle. She swam in this event last year and placed 23rd.
She enters the weekend seeded 18th. The objective of the best swimmer of Aquagirls is to qualify for the final.
“Top 16. That’s two spots above my top seed,” Lillie Ray said. “We mainly work on the little things. We work on my turns and my starts. We try to make my reaction time fast.
Ray’s season best time of 25.14 seconds in the 50 freestyle qualified her 18th out of 32 entries. She will be in lane 7 of round 3.
“We’re hoping for a PR and time under 24 seconds,” said NCMP Girls Head Coach Sarah Patterson. “Finishing in the top 16 would be super cool.”
Barton’s first state meet includes qualifying in the 100m breaststroke. She enters the state meet ranked 20th out of 32 swimmers and will compete in Lane 1 of Round 2. She qualified with a career best time of 1 minute, 8.95 seconds.
“I would like to get into my top seed and maybe be able to race on Saturday,” Barton said. “Coach P always tells me to be catchy in the water. I have to get that water back and use it to my advantage.
Peyton Ray qualified 30th in the 100 freestyle with a career best time of 55.94. She will be in lane 7 of round 1.
It would be natural for the second year to have minimum expectations, but she wants to work her way up.
“I hope to move up a few places,” said Peyton Ray. “I don’t plan to be in the top 16, but if that happens I would be really happy.
“We work on a lot of sprint stuff since most of our events in the state are 50s and 100s. I have to work on my turns for sure.