CEDAR RAPIDS — One person has prevented Hannah Botkin from winning her best event this season.
The Cedar Rapids Kennedy swimmer missed a week of competition and was limited in practice when she injured her right shoulder while changing her clothes. Before and after the fluky setback, Botkin has been perfect in the 50 freestyle.
Botkin remained undefeated in 50 free competition Saturday, capturing the title in the Cougar Invitational Saturday at Cedar Rapids Kennedy. Botkin raced to victory, knifing through the water to post a time of 25.62 seconds and helping the host Cougars finish third behind team champion Cedar Falls and runner-up Johnston.
“It felt really, really good,” Botkin said. “I love coming to this meet and having all the competition. It allows me to feed off everyone else’s energy and really try to pull ahead of these really fast teams.”
Botkin touched the wall .19 seconds ahead of runner-up Mollie Greenwood of Johnston. She entered the field with the third fastest-time behind Greenwood and Cedar Falls’ third-place Martee Grainger, but dropped her seed time to set a personal best. She is mindful of the streak, but has extended it with internal focus.
“I just look at my time and saying this is what I want to go,” said Botkin, also recording bests in relay splits. “It feels nice that’s it is midseason and I’m able to keep my time so consistent in the 50 free.”
Botkin, a junior, is making her mark individually after contributing to past state relays for Kennedy. She’s been impressive in a race with a slim margin of error, where a slight mistake comes with a huge cost.
“She’s been solid all year long,” Kennedy Coach John Ross said. “She’s worked hard to get where she’s at.”
Three weeks ago the season appeared in jeopardy. Botkin was putting on her shirt with her arm raised and an untimely tug caused a shoulder subluxation, which is a partial separation. She hoped to train through it, but a doctor told her it could eventually end her swim career.
“That was really hard to take,” Botkin said. “Ever since then I’ve been doing physical therapy, so I’ve gotten a lot stronger. I’m definitely on the road to recovery.”
Ross is not surprised. He praised her work ethic and intelligence in and out of the pool.
“She’s got a real good head on her shoulders. She understands what it takes,” Ross said. “She wants to do well (and) wants to do well for her team.”
Botkin credited her Cougar teammates for taking the fast lane. Without their help, she wouldn’t be back in four events for the first time since the season-opening meet.
“I’ve never had an injury before. It was something completely new for me, not even an ear infection,” Botkin said. “The support of my team is crucial.”
Botkin owns a good perspective on the streak. Nice accomplishment now, but it will be better later in the year.
“A big goal of mine is to make it to state,” Botkin said. “I’ve never made it in an individual event. That would be awesome if I could qualify in the 50 free.”
Not all the Cougar swims weren’t championship performances, but they were successful.
Kennedy sophomore Sam Jacobsen earned a runner-up finish in the 200 freestyle, while Jessica Schmeiser was third in the 100 free. Jacobsen added a runner-up swim in the 100 back, finishing behind Johnston’s Victoria Trost, who entered the meet with the third-fastest time in the state.
The Cougars were also second in the 200 free relay and third in the 400 free relay.
“They stepped up well,” Ross said. “Great team camaraderie. Good effort.”
Kennedy finished almost 100 points ahead of Linn-Mar, avenging an earlier dual loss. Lauren Dalecky was second in the 100 breaststroke and the Lions were third in the 200 medley relay.
Cedar Falls held a monopoly on swim titles most of the meet except for Botkin’s victory. The Tigers won eight of 12 events, including all but three in swimming.
Aftin Phyfe (200 IM and 100 free), Brittany Moffatt (200 and 500 free) and Catherine Sell (100 fly and 100 breaststroke) each won two titles. Cedar Falls also won the 200 medley and 200 free relays, beating Johnston, 570-545 1/2.
“They’re two solid teams,” Ross said.
At C.R. Kennedy
Teams - 1. Cedar Falls 570, 2. Johnston 545.5, 3. CR Kennedy 418, 4. Linn-Mar 318.5, 5. (tie) Decorah and Dubuque Wahlert 148, 7. Williamsburg 86, 8. CR Jefferson 54, 9. Davenport North 37
Diving – 1. Emily Moore (John), 346.85, 2. Hannah Brummel (CF), 346.65, 3. Hannah Guy (DN), 325.50; 200 medley relay – 1. Cedar Falls (Aftin Phyfe, Catherine Sell, Meghan Hackett, Martee Grainger), 1:53.29, 2. Johnston 1:58.07, 3. Linn-Mar 1:58.33; 200 free – 1. Brittany Moffatt (CF), 1:57.05, 2. Sam Jacobsen (CRK), 2:01.24, 3. Charlie Langer (CF), 2:01.26; 200 IM – 1. Phyfe (CF), 2:14.77, 2. Mallorie Myers (John), 2:21.48, 3. Jade Jacobs (CF), 2:21.53; 50 free – 1. Hannah Botkin (CRK), 25.62, 2. Mollie Greenwood (John), 25.81, 3. Grainger (CF), 26.00; 100 fly – 1. Sell (CF), 1:01.44, 2. Hackett (CF), 1:03.08, 3. Mallory Neubauer (Will), 1:03.81; 100 free – 1. Phyfe (CF), 54.40, 2. Victoria Trost (John), 54.89, 3. Jessica Schmeiser (CRK), 56.22; 500 free – 1. Moffatt (CF), 5:10.79, 2. Langer (CF), 5:26.05, 3. Nicole Davis (John), 5:30.68; 200 free relay – 1. Cedar Falls (Grainger, Moffatt, Langer, Phyfe), 1:42.08, 2. C.R. Kennedy 1:42.41, 3. Johnston 1:45.74; 100 back – 1. Trost (John), 1:00.52, 2. Jacobsen (CRK), 1:01.39, 3. Jacobs (CF), 1:04.03; 100 breaststroke – 1. Sell (CF), 1:11.20, 2. Lauren Dalecky (LM), 1:12.20, 3. Carmen Vajgert (John), 1:13.24; 400 free relay – 1. Johnston (Niki Ferguson, Greenwood, Davis, Trost), 3:43.16, 2. Cedar Falls 3:43.54, 3. C.R. Kennedy 3:49.52.
Aftin Phyfe, Brittany Moffatt, Catherine Sell, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Cougar Invitational, Cougars, Hannah Botkin, Jessica Schmeiser, John Ross, Johnston, Lauren Dalecky, Linn-Mar, Lions, Sam Jacobsen, Swimming, Tigers