PLEASANT HILL — Newton Cardinal swimmers and others were churning and burning up the waters Saturday in an IHSAA district swim meet at Southeast Polk High School. As cold as it was outside, the pool water was hot and fast inside.
The Cardinals had a “great day” in the water, according to their coach, Dave Hook. They had one district champion, qualified for state in seven events, set two school records and “everybody who competed lowered times in events,” Hook said.
Sophomore Isaak Webb went into Saturday’s competition with two goals in mind for his 200-yard individual medley race. Mission accomplished.
Webb posted the fastest time in the pool in the event, claiming Newton’s only district championship of the 2014 meet. Webb broke the 2-minute barrier and in doing so, he shattered the Newton school mark that had stood since 1982.
“It felt really good as I was swimming the race,” Webb said of his winning 1 minute, 59.76 second time. “It feels great to be a district champion. When I looked up at the board to see the times then saw Coach (Hook), it was awesome to meet those goals.”
Webb had been close to the school mark of 2:02.18 set by Jeff Schnoebelen in 1982. Webb’s previous best this season was 2:02.43.
“What a fantastic meet for our team. We had unbelievable time drops across the board for the team,” Hook said. “We had great effort in every race by our guys. To take fourth place in this district is awesome.”
West Des Moines Valley High edged out Ankeny, 262-261, for the district team championship. Council Bluffs Lewis Central was third, followed by Newton with 167 points.
Sophomore Austin Bunker, the only member of the Newton team who qualified for state a year ago, is going back to the state swim meet in four events. Bunker, Webb and junior Jake Lensing are on two relays and have two individual events to swim at the state meet in Marshalltown this coming Saturday.
“Man, this is great to get to go back to state and not with just relays. We’ve got guys going in individual events,” Bunker said.
Senior Josh Bailey qualified as a member of the the 200-yard medley and the 400-yard freestyle relays. Bailey, Bunker, Webb and Lensing combined to qualify for state in taking fourth in the final event of day — the 400 freestyle relay — in 3:30.16.
Webb’s school record time came on the heels of Newton’s first school mark of the day. Webb combined with Lensing, Bunker and Bailey to lower their own Newton record in the 200-yard medley relay. In the opening event of the meet, the Cardinal quartet claimed second place in 1:39.20.
Webb had a strong backstroke leadoff leg then Lensing went in to swim the breaststroke. Bunker took over swimming the butterfly leg which left Bailey to anchor the relay with a 50-yard freestyle run in the pool.
Bunker claimed a place on the district podium twice in individual events Saturday. He turned in a third-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:47.26. Bunker finished third in the 100-yard butterfly race in 53.70 seconds with Webb in sixth at 54.13.
“For the 200 medley relay, we just went in it to go as fast as we can,” Bunker said. “It’s going to be fun going to state in individual events as well as relays. I was glad to improve my places individually from last year’s district.”
Bunker was a member of two relay teams which qualified for state a year ago. Bunker is qualified in the 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay along with the 200 freestyle and the 100 butterfly. Webb is qualified in the two relays and the butterfly and individual medley events.
Lensing stood on the district podium four times also. Lensing staged a strong battled in the water with Ankeny’s Jameson Spitzig in the 100-yard breaststroke race. Spitzig won the race in 1:00.46 with Lensing touching in 1:01.46 for second place.
Earlier in the meet, Lensing finished fourth in the 50-yard freestyle in 22.11 seconds.
“Our relays went well for us today. We dropped three seconds off our school record in the medley,” Lensing said. “It was the first time for me in a speed suit this season and I dropped a lot off my split in the race.”
“I wanted to go sub-22 (seconds) in the 50 free but 22.11 is good. I’ll save the sub-22 for state,” Lensing said with a smile. “I dropped two seconds off my best time in the 100 breaststroke. I’m bummed that I didn’t get district champ in that race. I really wanted that one.”
Bailey qualified for his first state meet as a member of the two Cardinal relays.
“I was happy with my freestyle leg in the medley relay. I wish I could have dropped more time,” Bailey said. “When I took off, the frontrunner had a good lead on me and I just had to go out and do my best. I was happy with the way I swam throughout the meet overall.”
Newton’s 200-yard freestyle relay team earned a trip to the medal podium Saturday. Seniors Landon King and Levi Heschke, junior Jeff Fitzgerald and sophomore Aaron King took fifth in 1:33.86. Heschke would be back on the podium with a fifth-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke in 58.40 seconds.
“We had a pretty good race,” Fitzgerald said of the 200 freestyle relay. “We knew if we won our heat and posted a strong time to beat a couple teams in the next heat, we could earn medals. We just went strong in the water. I had good individual races in the 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley.”
Newton senior Paul DeHart was one of several seniors swimming for the final time Saturday. DeHart is a four-year member of the Cardinal team. He competed in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle.
“This was pretty sweet to go out with two personal-best times. I lowered my 50 time by a couple of 10ths of a second and my 100 by three seconds,” DeHart said. “It was fun and this year’s been a blast.”
2014 IHSAA District Swimming Meet
At Southeast Polk
Team scores: Valley, West Des Moines 262, Ankeny 261, Lewis Central 233, Newton 167, Des Moines Roosevelt 100, Indianola 92, Southeast Polk 51, Oskaloosa 32.
200-yd medley relay: 2. Newton (Isaak Webb, Jake Lensing, Austin Bunker, Josh Bailey) 1:39.20 (school record)
200-yd freestyle: 3. Bunker, 1:47.26, 17. Landon King, 2:04.79, 23. Zach Theis, 2:20.42.
200-yd individual medley: 1. Webb, 1:59.76 (SR), 18. Jeff Fitzgerald, 2:24.34, 20. Reese Rosenquist, 2:31.42.
50-yd freestyle: 4. Lensing, 22.11, 12. Bailey, 23.55, 18. Paul DeHart, 25.55.
100-yd butterfly: 3. Bunker, 53.70, 6. Webb, 54.13, 11. Aaron King, 57.70.
100-yd freestyle: 8. Levi Heschke, 52.48, 12. Bailey, 52.82, 22. DeHart, 57.81.
500-yd freestyle: 19. Christian Laube, 6:15.23, 20. Jacob Thomas, 6:27.93, 21. Logan Norcross, 6:32.20.
200-yd freestyle relay: 5. Newton (A. King, L. King, Fitzgerald, Heschke), 1:33.86.
100-yd backstroke: 5. Heschke, 58.40, 7. A. King, 1:00.71, 16. Rosenquist, 1:06.31.
100-yd breaststroke: 2. Lensing, 1:01.46, 16. Fitzgerald, 1:1.52, 18. L. King, 1:12.58.
400-yd freestyle relay: 4. Newton (Bunker, Bailey, Webb, Lensing), 3:30.16.