DES MOINES – Saige Knight anchored the Ottumwa girls swimming team to a pair of third-place medals on Tuesday night during the 2019 CIML Metro Conference girls swimming championships. The Bulldog senior reached the podium four times earning four medals in four events including top-three swims in the 200 and 400 free relay races.
Swimming with Libby Moses, Leah Chelgren and Mac Payne, Knight secured a third-place finish in the 200 free relay with a 25.63-second anchor, a personal best that gave OHS an overall finish of 1:49. Knight also rallied OHS to a medal in the 400 free relay, rallying past Des Moines East for third place in the 400 free relay as the Bulldogs edged the Scarlets in 4:05.
“We were behind East when Saige dove in and took over right at the very end with one of her best splits,” Ottumwa head girls swimming coach Cherie Langland said. “It was about a 57-second split. It beat East by about a tenth of a second. Saige had an incredible performance in those relays.”
Knight placed fourth individually, reaching the podium in the 100-yard butterfly in 1:05.37. Chelgren earned her third medal by finishing third in the 100-yard freestyle in 59.14 seconds while joining Knight, Moses and Payne back on the podium after finishing fourth in 2:03.92 in the 200 medley relay.
Lauren Kaldenberg earned a trip to the podium and a medal for placing sixth in the 100 breaststoke in 1:22.01. Several more Ottumwa swimmers impressed in the final meet of the regular season.
”Zoey Jones swam the 500 for us again and cut about 12 seconds off her best time, plus she had her best split in the 200 relay,” Langland said. “Hannah LaPoint also had some top swims, which is big for her going into her first regional meet.”
Ottumwa will prepare for the state qualifying meet at Southeast Polk on Saturday, Nov. 2. The Bulldogs have high hopes that Moses, Chelgren, Knight and Payne can contend for berths in the state swimming meet in all three relay races.
“We’ve been powering up on our practices the last few weeks pushing the workouts with extra intensity. Now, we’re ready to dial that down so we can shoot these kids out of cannons at the regional meet,” Langland said. “There’s always a little extra energy that starts to be revealed at this time of the year.”