Defending champion Ames too deep for Bobcats

The defending champion Ames swimming and diving team is talented, deep and looking to make another run at a state championship.

And even though the Bobcats swam well, the Little Cyclones still spoiled Marshalltown’s Senior Night as they left town with a 113-63 victory Tuesday at the MHS pool.

Capped by a record-setting performance from Sara Bentley, Ames was victorious in 10 of the 12 events. The Little Cyclones also won eight straight races to end the night.

Bentley set a new pool record in the 100 butterfly as she hit the wall in 59.23 seconds. The previous record was 1:00.25 set by Heather Gray in 2001. Bentley, who is the defending 100 backstroke champion, also helped Ames swim to victories in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.

Marshalltown won the first event of the night – 200 medley relay – and also got a victory from senior Leah Barkema in the 50 freestyle.

Barkema hit the wall in 25.75 in the 50 and also was a part of the Bobcats’ winning medley relay squad. That foursome also included senior Chloe Kuehner, sophomore Raechel Hannam and senior Therese Kuhlman. That group won the race with a time of 1:56.70, which was three-hundredths faster than Ames’ top team.

The second-place squad from Ames included Bentley as well as Bailey Moulden, Sydney Sorenson and Hannah Newell.

The Bobcats recorded several runner-up finishes on the night.

Lillibridge was second in the 200 freestyle (2:08.48) and 100 backstroke (1:08.87), senior Phoebe Lynk scored a silver-medal performance in diving (179.90) and Kuehner was second in the 100 breaststroke (1:13.45). The 200 freestyle relay of Barkema, Kuehner, Kuhlman and Melisa Fonseca and the 400 freestyle relay of Barkema, Fonseca, Maggie Carnahan and Carolina Freire-Vales finished second as well.

The Bobcats’ best event was the 100 breaststroke. After Kuehner’s runner-up tally, Kuhlman also grabbed third and Hannam ended up fourth. Lynk, Mary Drummer and Katie Gassman also helped Marshalltown finish 2-4-5 in 1-meter diving.


The Bobcats recognized Barkema, Kuehner, Kuhlman, Lillibridge, Lynk, Fonseca, Bri Simpson, Tabitha Sanchez, Emily Barske, Sabrina Price and manager Sam Carter as seniors prior to the dual. … Freire-Vales also was fifth in the 200 freestyle and fourth in the 500 freestyle. Barske, DarC Vopava, Morgan Van Staalduine, Brianna Reynolds and Carnahan all recorded individual fifth-place finishes. Reynolds was fifth in both the 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle, while Fonseca was fourth in the 100 freestyle and Barske was fourth in the 100 butterfly. … The MHS divers are next in the pool Saturday when they host the Bobcat Diving Invitational at 10 a.m. The divers then travel to Southeast Polk on Tuesday for the Central Iowa Conference Diving Meet. Action in Pleasant Hill begins at 5 p.m. The CIC swim meet is 5 p.m. Thursday at Southeast Polk.