Cardinal swimmers hit the water churning

NEWTON — Progress was made last year by the Newton boys’ swimming team. Cardinal swimmers used that strong season to springboard to a solid start to the 2013-14 season Tuesday.

The Cardinals hit the competitive waters at Southeast Polk and posted a 101-69 win over the Rams. They won 10 out of the 11 events.

That’s the kind of start to the season Cardinal head coach David Hook was looking for with seven returning swimmers among the ranks of the 19 out for the team this year.

“We made some great progress in our program last year, taking a good group to the state meet,” Hook said. “We have one of those state qualifiers back in sophomore Austin Bunker. Austin had a solid freshman season, swimming on the state qualifying freestyle relays.”

Bunker is joined by senior Paul DeHart, juniors Christian Laube, Jacob Thomas and Jeff Fitzgerald and sophomores Logan Norcross and Zachary Theis. Last year’s spark to the team was a foreign exchange student.

In 2013-14, Cardinal Swimming has five swimmers from Pella joining the team. Hook said the five are very strong swimmers and have competed together for several years.

“They add a new dimension to our team. They’ve really come in here and became part of the team quickly. All of the guys have worked hard in our practices. We’re getting good leadership from our seniors and juniors,” Hook said.

Newton’s team has three seniors, six juniors, five sophomores and five freshmen this season. The five from Pella are seniors Josh Bailey and Landon King, junior Jacob Lensing and sophomores Aaron King and Isaak Webb.

Hook said Bunker has come back more relaxed in the pool. He said Bunker is strong in all the strokes, especially in the distance freestyle events. DeHart will swim the butterfly, the individual medley and freestyle races. Fitzgerald is a solid performer in the free style, breaststroke and individual medley.

Laube and Thomas are good distance freestyle swimmers. Laube also will swim the butterfly while Thomas competes in the backstroke. Theis and Norcross give the Cardinals depth in the breaststroke.

Look for Webb and Lensing to be competing in the breaststroke  and individual medley event. Landon King swims the butterfly and Aaron King is a backstroke swimmer as is Bailey.

“Relays are going to be one of our strongest points in the pool this season. We can put several combinations of swimmers together for the relays,” said Hook, who is in his 16th season coaching the NHS boys’ swim team.

Next up for the Cardinals is a meet at Waukee Dec. 5.

Saturday Dec. 7 is the Newton Invitational at the Newton YMCA. The Cardinals host four more meets during the season.