Hurricanes ready to swim at state

Ottumwa YMCA Hurricane swimmers (back row, from left to right) Ava Johnson, Libby Moses, Leah Chelgren, Jonathan Miller, (middle row, from left to right) Ashton Gevock, Lillyann Morrison, Hannalee Songer, (front row, from left to right) Piper Gevock, Trinity Gevock, Penelope Morrison and Oliver Bell will be among the 21 representatives of the program to swim this weekend in Marshalltown at the Iowa YMCA State Swimming Meet. Quenton Mitchell, Tate Harness, Kyle Calhoun, Nathan Calhoun, Dapanie Morrison, Finley Johnson, Hannah LaPoint, Makenzie Fischer, Zoey Housholder and McKenzie Hoskins will also be swimming for the Hurricanes this weekend as the program looks to win a second straight state team title. Female swimming events will be held on Saturday at the Linda Bloom Natatorium while male swimming events will be held on Sunday.

OTTUMWA – The banner for last year's state championship run just arrived this past week. It can be found inside the entrance room to the Ottumwa YMCA pool.

It's a reminder of just how far the Hurricane youth swimming program has come. The Hurricanes, however, aren't satisfied with one state championship banner.

The Hurricanes return to Marshalltown this weekend to compete in the 2021 Iowa YMCA State Swimming meet seeking to win a second straight state title. The talent is in place to do so with 21 swimmers set to compete inside the Linda Bloom Natatorium, including top-ranked swimmers in five different events.

"We have some amazing swimmers, many of the same that were part of this last year, and we've got a lot of amazing younger kids that have been coming up and doing well this season," Leah Chelgren, seeded third in three different events competing for the Hurricanes on in the girls 15-21 year-old portion of the meet. "I can't remember that we've been ranked this high in so many different events. We've had a few kids that have been really good, but never so many at one time. I think this is an amazing opportunity for us."

The unique format of this year's state YMCA meet will divide the two-day meet up into three different sessions each day, allowing swimmers at all levels to have their moments to shine. Piper Gevock will get a chance to jump start the Hurricanes in the very first event swimming as the state's overall second seed in the girls 9-10 year-old 200 freestyle at 8:30 a.m.

Gevock will finish the morning session for the Hurricanes competing in three more events, including the 100-yard breaststroke as the top seeded swimmer. Gevock was the youngest member of the Hurricanes to win multiple state titles last season, finishing first in both the 8-and-under 25-yard (20.52) and 50-yard (45.16) breaststroke races.

"I've been working out a lot more. I've been coming in the morning before school and in the evening after school," Gevock said. "It's a lot of hard work, but it's worth it. I'm hoping I'm going to do really good. There's a lot of people that got better this year."

Gevock will be a name said a lot at the Iowa State YMCA swim meet this weekend as both Piper and Trinity Gevock compete Saturday morning. Trinity Gevock will be swimming for the Hurricanes in the 8-and-under 25-yard freestyle, 100-yard individual medley and 25-yard breaststroke.

On Sunday, the boys will compete at state. Ashton Gevock will look to compete for a state championships of his own, swimming as top seed in the 12-21 year-old 400-yard individual medley as well as the second seed in both the 13-14 year-old 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard breaststroke during the final session of the meet starting at 4 p.m.

"I'm pretty confident going in," Ashton Gevock said. "I'm going to be pretty well rested going into the session. I feel like I've got a chance to drop a lot of time."

Nathan Calhoun, who just qualified for the Iowa High School boys state swimming meet as a freshman on the Ottumwa High School swimming team, will compete at the state YMCA meet as the top-seeded male swimmer in the 12-21 year-old 200-yard butterfly. Jonathan Miller will also be looking to win a second straight state title in the boys 11-12 year-old 100-yard breaststroke, entering the Sunday early afternoon session as the top-seeded swimmer in the event.

"I just think about it like I have to improve my times. I try not to think about being the top seed going into it," Miller said. "I just have to get a good dive and flip through it."

— Scott Jackson can be reached at sjackson@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.

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