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PREP GIRLS SWIMMING

Mason City swimmers continue to move up prominent all-time list

Steve Hugo has been coaching boys and girls swimming at Mason City since 1984.

At the beginning of his career as head coach, he wanted to put together a record list of all of his past and present swimmers' best times to motivate his athletes.

So he went to the old Globe Gazette building and dug through countless newspaper clippings and articles to compile the list.

What started as a top 10 list slowly developed into a top 25 as time went on. Now, after nearly 40 years of coaching, it's a top 50 list for each event.

"It got it to 50, and now I delete them after that," Hugo laughed. "I don't know if you can fit more than 50 on a page before it goes to page two."

Every year, a handful of swimmers move up that list, which is something that motivates them – and excites Hugo.

This year is no different.

"It matters a lot to me," sophomore Aspen Cole said. "This might sound a little cocky, but I kind of want to be remembered a little bit in Mohawk swimming. It gives you motivation to work harder in practice."

Cole is one of the swimmers on the girls team this season that's seen her name move up the list. She currently sits at 10th all-time in the 100-yard butterfly with her best of 1 minute, 2.71 seconds, and 18th in the 500-yard freestyle with her time of 5:32.06.

Sophomore Grace Hehr and junior Taylor Halverson have also seen their names go up on the list in the same 100-yard butterfly event. Halverson is currently 22nd (1:04.91) and Hehr is 34th (1:06.67).

"The end goal is to try and get as high as I possibly can," Hehr said. "It's just really cool to see my name up there and see how much I improve."

Hehr also sits just outside the top 30 in the 200-yard individual medley (2:23.41).

After just joining the team last season, junior Rosa Monarch is already one of the best divers in the history of the Mohawk girls swimming team. Her recent personal-best of 240.85 points at West Des Moines, Valley put her fourth all-time.

"I always want to push myself to be the best that I can be," Monarch said. "Now the numbers, last year they looked completely unattainable, but just improving a couple of points every time is starting to add up."

Although improving on the all-time list is motivating enough, the girls have higher goals for this season. All of them want to score points down at the state meet at the end of the year.

Hugo also hopes to send relay teams to the state meet. Last season, none of his relay teams scored points at the meet, which he hopes will change.

As the state meet isn't until November, there's plenty of time for the girls to improve, which undoubtedly means more old names and times on the all-time list will get passed up.

"If you're over there looking at the list thinking you might get on it, you tend to work a little harder," Hugo said. "Maybe try to swim a little faster in the meets and race your competition."

The Mohawks will continue their season at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Ankeny.

Gunnar Davis covers sports. Reach him via email at Gunnar.Davis@GlobeGazette.com or by phone 641-421-0598.

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