JOHNSTON — Three district event champions, qualifying for the 2015 state swim meet in six evens, four school records and drops in times across the board highlighted Newton High’s Saturday at the Iowa district boys’ swim meet. The Cardinals found the waters of Johnston’s Summit Middle School swimming pool to their liking.
“It was an unbelievable day for us. This ranks right up there with one of the best district meets we’ve had,” said Dave Hook, Newton head coach. “I love starting off with the medley relay at meets. We’ve got a good one and the kids had a great swim to win the race.”
The Cardinals opened the district meet with a bang. Freshman Lucas Warner, senior Jake Lensing and juniors Isaak Webb and Aaron King combined to win the 200-yard medley relay in 1 minute, 38.13 seconds. They beat top-seeded Ankeny, which touched in 1:38.46.
That was the first of four NHS records. The older mark was 1:38.56 set in 2013 and Webb and Lensing were on that relay.
“Yes, I was a little nervous,” said Warner who led off the medley with the backstroke. “To be the first one to go on the relay and if I blow it, the whole race does down the drain. I knew I had to go out fast. It’s pretty exciting to be district champions and going to state.”
Webb not only won two individual event titles at the district meet, he contributed to all four school record times. Webb did not defend his 200 individual medley district championship, but led Newton to 1-2 finishes in the 100-yard butterfly and the 100-yard breaststroke races.
“I just wanted to come in and have a good meet,” Webb said. “We were comfortable going into the medley and knew what we had to do. My goal and the team’s goal was to drop some time and make it to state. We were looking to break the school records and we did that.”
Webb won the 100 butterfly in 51.76 seconds, breaking his own NHS mark of 53.16 seconds. King went into the meet seeded fifth and posted a personal-best time of 56.08 to take second place.
“My goal was to make the podium. I never thought about taking second in the butterfly,” King said. “In the medley relay, we started off well and everyone did their jobs.”
King anchored the medley relay with the freestyle. He said the support of his teammates and family helped give him a boost on the anchor leg.
Webb and Lensing had the top two times in the 100 breaststroke going into the district meet. That is how they finished with Webb winning in a NHS record time of 59.54 seconds and Lensing placing second in 1:01.45.
The foursome of Webb, Warner, King and Lensing lowered their own NHS record in the 200 freestyle relay race. Newton took second in 1:28.26.
“Aaron brought us home in the medley and I wanted to do the same in the freestyle relay,” Lensing said. “I had a good day overall. I want to do better in the breaststroke, but I’m happy with second today. I had my fastest split of the season in freestyle relay race.”
Newton’s 200 medley and freestyle relays advance to the state meet. Webb will swim in the butterfly and breaststroke races. Lensing will be in the breaststroke and the 50-yard freestyle race. Lensing placed fourth in the district 50 freestyle in 22.37 seconds, which was just fast enough to advance to state.
Unfortunately, King’s time in the butterfly was not fast enough to move on to the state meet.
Warner made the medal podium in the 100 freestyle, taking fifth in 49.02 seconds. His time was fast enough to qualify for the state meet.
Newton finished fourth in the eight-team district meet, scoring 177 points. Johnston won the team championship with 304.5 points followed by Ankeny with 233.5 points and Lewis Central with 226. Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln was fifth with 136 points followed by Southeast Polk with 66, Atlantic with 40 and Oskaloosa with 29 points.
Once all the medals were awarded the 2015 district meet awards were announced.
Hook and assistant coach Sarah Patterson were named district coaching staff of the year. Patterson, who is the head coach for the high school girls’ team at Newton, came on staff this season to assistant Hook.
“It is a nice honor and I’m humbled by it. We’ve got great kids to coach,” Hook said, who is the NHS boys’ longtime head coach. “Coach Patterson has really been an asset to the team this season.”
Hook pointed out that every Newton swimmer saw a reduction in times in their races.
“We want to see all of our swimmers drop times and improve. This was a great district meet for our kids. We’re so proud of the way they competed today,” Hook said.
Senior Christian Laube finished 10th in the butterfly race in 1:03.82. Karl Recknagel, a senior foreign exchange student from Germany, took 14th in the breaststroke in 1:12.48. Senior Jeffrey Fitzgerald placed eighth in the 50 freestyle in 23.95 seconds while sophomore Clay Trotter was 10th in 24.72 seconds.
Trotter placed 17th in the 100 freestyle in 57.07 seconds and junior Zach Theis was 19th in 58.70 seconds. Theis finished 17th in the 200 individual medley in 2:33.28.
Warner just missed the podium — top six — in the 100 backstroke finishing seventh in 57.35 seconds. Sophomore Reese Rosenquist was ninth in 1:02.20 and freshman Jacob Knoll was 10th in 1:05.92.
King was 12th in the 200 freestyle in 1:56.92 while Rosenquist took 19th in 2:05.78 and Knoll placed 21st in 2:12.02. In the 500 freestyle, Fitzgerald placed 13th in 5:33.92, Laube was 19th in 6:09.90 and sophomore Logan Heisdorffer was 20th in 6:15.41.
Newton’s 400 freestyle relay team of Rosenquist, Heisdorffer, Knoll and Fitzgerald placed seventh in 3:43.90.
The state meet is Saturday at Marshalltown.
Contact Jocelyn Sheets at 641-792-3121 ext. 6535 or firstname.lastname@example.org