JOHNSTON — Saturday was a series of firsts and new records for the Perry girls swim team, who capped an strong regular season with their strongest effort at the regional level in decades.
Perry was fourth in the team standings at Johnston, their highest placing since 2000. Along the way the team reset three school records, swam season-best times in all three relays, and posted eight personal best swims as well.
Then, of course, there was Jaylene Karolus. All the junior standout did was to lower her own school records in both the 50 and 100 free, reaching the state meet preliminary round in both. She is the first Jayette to reach the state meet since Christine Dowd in 2000, and is the first Jayette swimmer to reach state in the pool and in another sport (cross country) in the same school year since Dowd achieved the feat in 1998.
The state meet will be held Friday and Saturday at the YMCA in Marshalltown. The preliminaries begin at 5 p.m. Friday, with the finals at 12 p.m. Saturday.
Host Johnston edged Ankeny, 525-521, for team honors, with Lewis Central third at 299 while Perry was fourth at 155. Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln (151), Oskaloosa (122), Grinnell (112), and Atlantic (84). Johnston gained 50 points, Ankeny 45, and Grinnell 23 from diving action held Friday.
Karolus lowered her PHS record by .74 seconds in the 50 free by touching fourth in 25.09, with Amanda Holwegner 14th in 28.11. Karolus shaved 2.1 ticks off her school mark in the 100 free by placing fifth in 55.18, with Jenna Nelson 18th in 1 minute, 6.43 seconds, a drop of 2.19 seconds off her previous best time.
Freshman Sophia McDevitt reset her own school record in the 500 free with a 5:40.53, which was ninth overall. Teammate Emily Dowd was 14th in 6:55.54, a new personal record.
McDevitt was sixth in the 200 Individual Medley (2:21.68), a cut of 3.07 for a new PB (personal best). Nelson was 13th n the 200 free in 2:22.2, a PB by 3.71 ticks, with Dowd placing 16th in the 100 backstroke in 1:28.2.
Zoe Hibbert was 10th in a PB (by 1.07 seconds) of 1:12.08 in the 100 butterfly, with Holwegner touching 11th in the 100 breaststroke in 1:20.73, a season-best for the senior.
As mentioned, all three Jayette relays posted season-best times Saturday, with McDevitt, Holwegner, Hibbert and Dowd swimming the 200 medley relay in 2:09.06, with Karolus, Holwegner, Hibbert and Nelson clocking in at 1:52.86 in the 200 free. McDevitt, Nelson, Hibbert, and Karolus capped the meet in 4:06.86. The 200 medley was sixth, the 200 free sixth, and the 400 free, fifth.
All three relays earned medals, as did Karolus in the 50 free and 100 free, and McDevitt in the 200 Individual Medley.