Making a second trip to Fort Dodge in less than a month, the Newton swim team made the trek worthwhile on Saturday.
The Cardinals finished fourth in a seven-team field at the Rauty Garst Invitational, setting multiple individual and team season-best times in the process.
“We were one of the top four teams fighting for the title. We just had a really good meet with lots of personal bests,” Newton coach Dave Hook said. “We used this as a test for how we’ll do against some of the tougher teams in the state, and we did really good.”
Not surprisingly, Newton seniot Matheus Pinto picked up two individual victories and one with a relay in the meet. His two victories, both season bests, came in the 50-yard freestyle (22.03 seconds) and the 100 free (48.83). He was also a part of the 200 free relay team with seniors Ryan Jolivette, Luke Norcross and freshman Austin Bunker that took first with a time of 1 minute, 32.89 seconds.
Bunker had some individual success of his own, taking first in the 200 free with a season-best time of 1:56.68, and third in 500 free with a time of 5:27.30.
In perhaps the most exciting event of the meet, the team of Bunker, Norcross, Jolivette and Pinto took second place in the 400 free relay by just .08 seconds. Pinto swam the anchor leg and made up some big ground on the team from Carroll, but missed out on the comeback by less than an arm’s length.
“It was really exciting to watch,” Hook said. “If he would’ve had one more foot, we would’ve won.”
Other notable finishes for Newton included Norcross taking third in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:00.98 and sophomore Christian Laube dropping neartly 20 seconds on his time in the 500 free.
The Cards will have a busy week, traveling to Des Moines for a dual against Des Moines Roosevelt on Tuesday before hosting Boone in their final home meet of the season on Thursday. With multiple events moving up the power rankings after this weekend, Hook is excited to see what the team will do in the remaining weeks of the season.
“Our training is working out and we’re really starting to challenge everyone in practice,” Hook said. “It’s good to see the times dropping when we need them to.”