After a red-hot start to the season, the Newton boys swim team has yet to really let up, and doesn’t seem willing to in the second half of the season.
With just five meets remaining when the season resumes on Jan. 5, the Cardinals are hoping to expand further on a year that has featured multiple school records falling and a few big dual wins at the Newton Y.
“I really couldn’t be happier with our performance so far, our meet record and how the kids have done a nice job in practice,” Newton coach Dave Hook said. “I’m very pleased, and we hope to keep it up in the second half.”
The Cardinals have competed in five other meets on the heels of a big, record-breaking victory over Ottumwa and Southeast Polk in the season opener. And while all of those meets contributed their own piece to Newton’s puzzle, none was bigger than the Dec. 13 meet against Marshalltown at the Newton Y.
The Cards had finished fourth at the Bobcat Invitational in Marshalltown just five days before, but pulled off a nail-biter in the final event to defeat the Bobcats and pick up some major momentum.
“It’s a season-long process from the very first meet, but really our signature win would be Marshalltown,” Hook said. “We haven’t won against them in many years and they’re such a strong program, so it was a really good feeling for the boys and a reward for all the hard work they’ve put in.”
On top of a strong senior class that features Luke Norcross, Ryan Jolivette and Cody Maxwell among others, one of the biggest boons to the team has been senior exchange student Matheus Pinto. Still undefeated in dual meets, Pinto also has earned school records in the 50- and 200-yard freestyles and the 100 breaststroke in the early part of the season. The latter of those was broken during the Cardinals’ big win over Marshalltown.
“I had heard rumors before the season that there was a foreign exchange student and he was really good, so I was excited about that but wasn’t going to get too excited until I actually saw him in practice,” Hook said of Pinto. “He’s been phenomenal. He’s done everything I’ve asked in practice and if we’re going into a dual meet and there’s someone I need him to go up against, he’ll do it without any complaining.”
For the second half of the season, Newton is hoping to finish in the top half of its remaining invitationals, which will take place in Waterloo on Jan. 5 and Fort Dodge on Jan. 12. The Cards also want to win two of their remaining duals, which will be on Jan. 15, 17 and 24. The Jan. 17 dual against Boone in Newton will be Senior Night for the Cards.