CEDAR RAPIDS – No personal expectations. No pressure.
And, nobody in front of her.
Savannah Butler’s team first mentality resulted in a first place of her own. The Iowa City West senior reclaimed the 100 breaststroke title, helping the Women of Troy to a runner-up finish at the Mississippi Valley Conference swim meet Saturday at Cedar Rapids Washington. Cedar Falls won its fifth straight team title with 436 points, 48 more than West, which earned the Mississippi Division championship.
Butler recorded a time of 1:08.03, matching the conference crown she won as a sophomore before finishing second last year. She wasn’t concerned with personal accomplishments entering the meet.
“I’m just happy to be supporting my team,” Butler said. “Anything I can do for them, it’s really all about West High and not individuals, but it definitely feels good.”
Butler pulled away from the field, touching the wall 1.59 seconds ahead of Dubuque Senior’s Autumn Roepsch. She tried to transfer the work on turns in training to competition.
“I feel like it was a pretty good race,” Butler said. “I’ve been working pretty hard in practice. I just wanted to feel good in the race, overall.”
Butler was one-hundredth of a second of her fastest time this season, which is a 1.5 seconds faster than her mark entering the 2011 regional meet. She has benefitted from competing nationally in the 100 and 200 breaststroke over the summer.
“It gave her really good experience swimming at a competitive level,” West Coach Rob Miecznikowski said. “I think it really got her excited.”
“She doesn’t break under pressure,” Miecznikowski said. “She swam strong today.”
Butler was taking the feat in stride. She has advanced to the state meet her first three seasons, placing in the top 10 the last two without reaching the podium. The goal is to improve her seventh-place finish last season.
“I’m more about looking to the future,” Butler said. “I’ll be looking to place well at regionals and state, eventually.”
She also placed fourth in the 200 individual medley and was a member of West’s second-place 200 medley relay and 400 free relay that was third. Women of Troy junior Lilian Zhu, a two-time conference champ last year, joined Butler on both of those relays. She also added runner-up finishes in the 200 free in a time of 2:00.07, coming in after Cedar Falls’ Brittany Moffatt, who won in 1:56.73. Aftin Phyfe, of Cedar Falls, topped Zhu (1:01.00) in the 100 back with a time of 1:00.79.
“Very consistent,” Miecznikowski said of Zhu. “Lilian is right where we need here to be right now.”
Jasmine Roghair (5:22.26) and Natalie Shoultz (5:24.55) placed second and third, respectively, in the 500 free, won by Moffatt in 5:13.35.
On Thursday, West sophomore Jacintha Thomas captured the MVC diving crown. She received 412.10 points in the 11-dive competition, winning by almost 40 over Hannah Brummel of Cedar Falls. West divers Alex Aaberg was third and Becca Hilmer was fourth. Miecznikowski said the plan was to submit Thomas’ performance for All-American consideration.
The entire West team wasn’t focused on dropping time for the conference meet, which kicks off the championship season. The Women of Troy trained through it looking forward to the regional meet in two weeks. Miecznikowski said he was pleased with the results Saturday.
“We have an extremely young squad,” Miecznikowski said. “We only have two seniors on our varsity squad. So many freshmen and underclassmen. I’m glad to see them compete consistently.”
The number 3 was wild for Cedar Rapids Kennedy. The Cougars were third overall, second in the Mississippi Division, with three swimmers placing third. Sam Jacobsen led the way with runner-up swims in the 200 free and 100 back. Kennedy’s Hannah Botkin was third in the 50 free and Jessica Schmeiser received bronze in the 100 free.
Kennedy Coach John Ross said the goal was to contend for a spot in the top three with two of the state’s better programs.
“There were a lot of fast swimmers,” Ross said. “We happen to hold our own.”
The Cougars 200 free relay turned in the team’s best performance. Schmeiser, Jacobsen, Megan Berst and Botkin raced to 1:42.16, but had to settle for second due to Dubuque Senior’s record-setting effort. The Rams set a new conference mark with a time of 1:40.54, less than a second better than Cedar Falls in 2005.
“I said well I don’t want to just let them walk toward that record,” Ross said. “We wanted to make them earn it.
“Good swims for everybody.”
Cedar Falls won seven of the 12 total events.
Cedar Rapids Washington’s Jackie Hughes (2:15.66) was third in the 200 IM. Linn-Mar’s Lizzie Adams, Lauren Dalecky, Alexa Klimes and Samantha Fitzgerald were third in the 200 medley relay in a time of 1:57.13, helping the Lions tied for fourth as a team. Iowa City High’s Lizzie Brown (1:12.07) was third in the 100 breaststroke.
Regional meets will be held Oct. 25 (diving) and Oct. 27 (swim), determining qualifiers for the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union state meet Nov. 2-3 at Marshalltown YMCA.
MISSISSIPPI VALLEY CONFERENCE MEET
At C.R. Washington
Teams – 1. Cedar Falls 436, 2. Iowa City West 388, 3. C.R. Kennedy 290, 4. (tie) Linn-Mar and Dubuque Senior 235, 6. (tie) C.R. Washington and Dubuque Wahlert 155, 8. Dubuque Hempstead 120, 9. Iowa City High 88, 10. Waterloo West 68, 11. C.R. Jefferson 53, 12. Waterloo East 32.
Mississippi Division – 1. Iowa City West 497, 2. C.R. Kennedy 455, 3. Dubuque Senior 355, 4. Dubuque Hempstead 257, 5. Iowa City High 233, 6. C.R. Jefferson 144, 7. Waterloo East 86.
Valley Division – 1. Cedar Falls 538, 2. Linn-Mar 414, 3. C.R. Washington 342, 4. Dubuque Wahlert 328, 5. Waterloo West 195.
200 medley relay – 1. Cedar Falls (Aftin Phyfe, Catherine Sell, Meghan Hackett, Martee Grainger), 1:52.55, 2. Iowa City West 1:54.00, 3. Linn-Mar 1:57.13; 200 free – 1. Brittany Moffatt (CF), 1:52.55, 2. Lilian Zhu (ICW), 2:00.07, 3. Sam Jacobsen (CRK), 2:01.67; 200 IM – 1. Sell (CF), 2:12.92, 2. Autumn Roepsch (DS), 2:14.41, 3. Jackie Hughes (CRW), 2:15.66; 50 free – 1. Molly Lembezeder (DS), 24.73, 2. Grainger (CF), 25.51, 3. Hannah Botkin (CRK), 25.77; 100 fly – 1. Sell (CF), 1:00.88, 2.Hackett (CF), 1:03.61 , 3. Taylor Pherigo (WW), 1:04.65; 100 free – 1. Lembezeder (DS), 53.25, 2. Phyfe (CF), 53.57, 3. Jessica Schmeiser (CRK), 56.34; 500 free – 1. Moffatt (CF), 5:13.25, 2. Jasmine Roghair (ICW), 5:22.26, 3. Natalie Shoultz (ICW), 5:24.55; 200 free relay – 1. Dubuque Senior (Lembezeder, Roepsch, Olivia Knowles, Jenna Willer), 1:40.54*, 2. C.R. Kennedy 1:42.16, 3. Cedar Falls 1:42.99; 100 back – 1. Phyfe (CF), 1:00.79, 2. Zhu (ICW), 1:01.00, 3. Jacobsen (CRK), 1:03.52; 100 breaststroke – 1. Savannah Butler (ICW), 1:08.03, 2. Roepsch (DS), 1:09.62, 3. Lizzie Brown (ICH), 1:12.07; 400 free relay – 1. Cedar Falls (Moffatt, Sell, Charlie Langer, Phyfe), 3:39.15, 2. Dubuque Senior 3:48.86, 3. Iowa City West 3:49.88; Diving (Held Thursday) – 1. Jacintha Thomas (ICW), 412.10, 2. Hannah Brummel (CF), 372.45, 3. Alex Aaberg (ICW), 358.85.