Relax and just swim.
NCMP Cardinal Boys Swim Team’s four swimmers qualified for the 2020 Iowa High School Boys’ State Swim Meet have those words on their minds this week. They prepare for two events at the state meet.
Junior Jaden Dydell returns to the state meet for the second time in the 100-yard breaststroke. But he is excited for the fact that he will be joined by three other swimmers — seniors Jacob Nedder and Izaak Miller and freshman Eli Eekhoff — for the 200 medley relay.
“It means everything to reach state again in the breaststroke after all the time I’ve put into it, but more important I get to swim with my teammates at state also,” Dydell said. “Being able to swim with my brothers one more time is great.”
Saturday’s 2020 state meet will be held at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center natatorium on the campus of the University of Iowa in Iowa City. The championships start at approximately at 12:30 p.m.
The Iowa Swimming Coaches Association Awards will be given at noon followed by the parade of teams at 12:20 and the National Anthem.
Schools were able to pre-sell tickets which along with reserved tickets are sold out. Tickets are $10, cash only, on Saturday. General admission tickets will go on sale at 11 a.m. at CRWC.
NCMP first-year head coach Steve Jones said this week of practice was about cutting back and getting a lot of rest between things. He said the team was practicing Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. It has a special team activity in Pella on Wednesday.
The Newton/Colfax-Mingo/Pella team has five swimmers headed to the state meet. Junior Henry Jensen, who is the team’s top distance freestyle swimmer, will be an alternate for the relay team. Jensen finished seventh in the 500 in a personal-best time of 5:07.47 and was ninth in the 200 freestyle at last Saturday’s district meet.
Nedder is also a two-time state qualifier for NCMP. He was on the Cardinals’ 200 freestyle relay as a sophomore in 2018. That relay finished 15th at the state meet.
“I”m so glad to make it back again. It’s my senior year and my last chance so I was happy we were able to make it to state,” Nedder said. “We dropped four seconds off our time at district. We all swam our best that day.”
Nedder is the leadoff swimmer in the medley relay swimming the backstroke. He said there is a lot of responsibility to make certain the team gets the best start but really he’s not under any more pressure than any other position on the relay.
“I like the backstroke mainly because I like being able to breathe all the time,” Nedder said. “Swimming is a sport that generally you have to ration your breathing. The backstroke is the one stroke you can breath as much as you want.
“At state I’m looking to swim as fast as I can to help the team. I plan to put it all out in the water for my team.”
Dydell is next up in the relay, which is the first event of the meet, swimming the breaststroke. He said the four swimmers have come together well as a family and he is proud of all of his teammates.
Miller and Eekhoff are competing in their first state meet. Miller swims third as the butterfly leg and Eekhoff is the freestyle anchor swimmer. The NCMP medley foursome posted a season’s best time of 1:42.72 at district which was the 23rd fastest time in a field of 24.
NCMP is in the first heat of the medley relay competition at state. The Cardinals swim in lane one. The fastest time for the medley going into state is 1:33.16 by Iowa City West and the top 13 teams have times under 1:40.
“Right now, I’m telling the boys its about having some fun, relax and swim their best. This is what all their hard work is about. It’s the payoff and they needed to enjoy the opportunity.” Jones said. “I was confident the boys would com through with a fast Tim at districts. The seniors knew it was their last shot for state.”
For Miller, he is ready for another week of hard work and getting it done at state.
“I like swimming the butterfly. The most tense part of the relay is timing my takeoff. It’s the time you can get disqualified for jumping early but you want a fast turnover time,” Miller said. “Once Jaden touches, I’m off and it’s all about get in, get it done and get out.”
Eekhoff said while he’s on the blocks watching Miller come toward him, he is focused on the same thing — a quick turnover time and go out for a strong finish.
“Being the anchor is really fun and I’m so glad to go to state,” said Eekhoff, who has been swimming since he was 7.
Following the medley relay race, Dydell will begin to mentally prepare for his breaststroke race, which is final individual event of the meet and next to last event. Dydell fastest time in the 100 breaststroke is 1:00.8 and he had the 12th fastest time , 1:01.30, coming out of districts.
“The breaststroke feels like you’re flying. It’s hard to describe but there’s a great way you feel in the water as you move through it,” Dydell said. “My goal is to make the podium (top 8) and to swim under a minute.”
Dydell had his fastest race of his sophomore season at the state meet in Iowa City with a 1:02.01. He is looking to have a fast go of it this season at Iowa City. He is in the second of three heats swimming in lane 6.
“I’m going to experience the atmosphere and what it takes to get to state. I’m just an alternate but I’ve never been to a state meet,” Jensen said. “I love swimming the distance races.”
Jensen claimed the North Central Iowa Swimming Conference 2020 championships in the 200 and 500 freestyle races two weeks ago. He set new meet records in both events.
“Winning the 500 was exhilarating. The Deborah guy next t me was a factor — he always beats me so it was great to win,” Jensen said.
Saturday will be Jones’ first Iowa state swim meet as a head coach. He said the past two years as an assistant coach at Des Moines East he helped coach a swimmer.