In his two decades as the Ames High girls’ swimming coach, Dan Flannery has won seven state titles and seen his fair share of gifted swimmers.

But the two most talented classes he’s ever had are the current freshmen and sophomores.

“It’s been extremely nice to have this freshman class last year that (was) very talented,” Flannery said.

“It’s extremely nice to see another class come in that’s bigger and just as talented.”

The freshman class has an astounding 26 swimmers in it, with several top performers.

The sophomore class, led by Annie Galvin, who swam on two state-champion relays last year, is smaller, but also loaded.

Still, the team has key senior leaders who will be vital both in the pool and in setting an example for the younger swimmers.

“We’re finally seniors. We finally get to really step up and lead because we have a lot of younger kids,” senior Amy Feddersen said.

“There’s a lot of excitement and energy in the pool right now, and we can kind of direct that in a positive direction towards swimming fast and having fun.”

Feddersen and fellow senior Molly Winer earned All-American status last year after winning state in the 100 freestyle and 100 breastroke, respectively.

Both elite swimmers are committed to Missouri.

As a senior, Winer said one of her focuses this season is to prepare the younger classes for the future.

“My thing would just be giving them a strong foundation of what this team is like,” she said.

The Little Cyclones have won three-straight state titles and seven of the last eight. With a deep talent pool (“We’re gonna have a really good JV team,” Flannery said), they seem poised to do that once more.

“They’re not afraid to be challenged,” Flannery said. “They’re all really driven, they’re all really goal-oriented.”

Ames also returns seniors Delaney Ryken, a strong freestyler, and diver Jayna Misra, who easily won state last year. Misra is committed to dive for Iowa State next year.

Despite so much recent success, the Little Cyclones said complacency is a non-issue.

“There are people who want you to lose, and there are people who want to beat you, and you kind of gotta remember that,” Winer said, adding: “If I’m complacent, then I’m not going to have a good season.”

The swimmers noted that, in spite of how large and competitive the team is, and how individual the sport can be, they still feel a sense of community among the group.

“I really like how connected the team is,” Ryken said. “If you’re JV and never swam before, or if you’re varsity and have been swimming your entire life, everyone is just so supportive of everyone else.”

Most Ames swimmers also compete for the Ames Cyclone Aquatic Club, but value their high school experience just as much, if not more.

“Every time you put on the ‘A’ and you go out to swim, I don’t know, I get butterflies, even more than club, just because you’re doing it for the team,” Feddersen said. “You’re doing it for Ames High. That makes it really fun.”

Winer attends Gilbert High, but competes for Ames and says that since her freshman year, she has felt a distinct sense of team and unity among the Little Cyclones team.

“They’re my teammates,” she said. “I wouldn’t think of them as (just) people I swim with. They are my teammates and my friends.

“You are a part of this team forever.”


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