FORT DODGE — The Perry swim team experienced something Saturday usually reserved only for the largest schools, and largest meets, in Iowa: a day-long invite complete with preliminary swims and all the trappings.
The Jayettes left Perry at 7:30 a.m. and did not return until 9 p.m. for a meet only an hour drive away each direction. The eight-team field of the Gary Winkler Invitational competed in the eight-lane Dodger pool, for many years the site of the girls state swim meet until Marshalltown’s YMCA facility seized the honor.
Preliminary rounds were held in each of the 11 races, culling the field to a top eight who would advance to the finals. A preliminary finish of 9-16 earned a spot in the consolation finals, while finishers 17 and over were eliminated from the event.
The eight finalists in each event paraded to their blocks, with each individually introduced, a novelty for the Jayette swimmers.
Perry’s tiny squad of seven stands little chance of accumulating the kind of points much larger and deeper teams can produce, leaving the Jayettes to focus instead on individual improvement, which provided plenty of reason for positive feelings as eight new personal-best (PB) times were logged by PHS.
Fort Dodge’s 394 points easily won the team race, with Carroll edging Lewis Central, 319-318, for second place. Spencer (287) was fourth, with Storm Lake (225), Sioux City Metro (187) Algona (130) and Perry (96) completing the field.
Breanna Penenger, Anna Ridnour and both Haley and Sarah Vaughn swam the 200 medley relay for the Jayettes. The foursome was 8-8 (8th in the preliminaries and 8th in the finals) with times of 2 minutes, 16.11 seconds and 2:15.06, respectively.
Avery Miner had a PB of 2:33.37 while placing 20th in the 200 freestyle, with Penenger placing 11-10 in 2:19.64 and with a PB of 2:15.58.
Haley Vaughn was 6-6 in the 200 individual medley, doing so in 2:29.59 and then in 2:28.98.
Dannah Karolus was 23rd and Kaira Francis 61st in the 50 free, with each posting a new PB, the former in 20.19 and the latter in 40.58.
Freshman Sarah Vaughn was 14-13 in the 100 butterfly in 1:18.61 and 1:16.42, with sister Haley, a senior, placing 9-9 in the 100 backstroke in 1:11.17 and in a new best of 1:09.29 while Ridnour’s 20th place clocking of 1:31.39 in the 100 breaststroke was also a new personal mark.
Penenger swam a PB of 6:11.79 in the 500 free and then touched, in 6:11.92, to place sixth in both the prelim and final swims in the longest event.
Ridnour was 20th in a PB of 1:07.5, Miner was 23rd in 1:10.01 and Francis was 38th in 1:35.84 in her first-ever competitive swim in the 100 freestyle. Karolus was 15-15 in the discipline in 1:05.03 and 1:04.78.
Perry earned a podium spot in the final event, the 400 free relay when Sarah Vaughn, Miner, Karolus and Penenger qualified seventh in 4:30.68 and then improved to sixth in the finals with a clocking of 4:26.61.
The Jayettes also competed in the 200 free relay but were disqualified in the preliminary round and did not record a time.
Perry faces a grueling stretch of four meets over eight days, beginning with a Tuesday trip to a triple-dual at Des Moines North, with DM Hoover also attending. The Jayettes will then visit Indianola for a triple-dual at which Oskaloosa will also compete, with a Saturday visit to the annual Polar Bear Invitational also on tap. Perry then travels to Newton Sept. 27 for a triple-dual at which Oskaloosa will again be present. The Polar Bear Invite will start at 10 a.m. while the three triple-duals are each set to begin at 5:30 p.m.