IOWA CITY — Ever since it was announced the Iowa boys’ state swimming meet was returning to Iowa City, there has been a buzz among coaches and athletes.
After a 13-year run at the Marshalltown YMCA pool, this year’s state meet is moving to one of the best facilities in the country.
Last August, the Iowa High School Athletic Association signed a three-year contract to hold the meet at the UI’s Campus Recreation and Wellness Center pool on the University of Iowa campus. The meet is scheduled for Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
Before it was moved to Marshalltown in 2005, the UI hosted the state meet at the Field House Pool for 19 years and 29 of the first 68.
“Marshalltown was a tremendous spectator pool. The seats were close to the pool and it was a loud atmosphere but I think (swimming at Iowa) will be better for the kids,” said Cedar Rapids Washington Coach Chris Cruise. “The kids were real excited when we told them last summer we were heading down there for the meet. I think that the excitement and enthusiasm being in that facility where Olympians and NCAA champions swim is really going to be an awesome experience.”
Cruise’s Warriors usually save their best performances for the state stage. They were impressive in winning the district title last Saturday at Linn-Mar and finished fourth as a team last February in Marshalltown.
“All the guys that I have talked to are really looking forward to swimming in that pool,” said Washington junior Jeremy Throndson. “Obviously, it is a really nice facility and we’re excited to be going there for the meet.”
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The depth of the Iowa pool will be a factor. The Marshalltown pool was much shallower which can hinder a swimmer.
“The big thing is now that kids are going to have water that won’t keep them from swimming their best times,” said Linn-Mar Coach Tom Belin. “For example (Linn-Mar’s) Matt Peng is under water all the time and now he doesn’t have to worry about the bottom of the pool.
“He’s going to be thrilled to be in an environment like that. I’m confident all our kids, and most kids for that matter, will really improve their times.”
Ankeny and Ames are the top two teams in the state power rankings heading into the meet. Iowa City West and City High, along with Washington, are the top rated teams from The Gazette area.
City High sophomore Forrest Frazier has the top seed time in the 100-yard butterfly and 100 breaststroke. Linn-Mar’s Peng is right behind Frazier in the 100 fly, seeded second while Decorah’s Noah Faldet has the third-best qualifying time in the 100 breaststroke. No other area swimmer or relay is seeded higher than fifth.
“It’s going to be a great meet,” Belin said. “This was a move made with the best interest of the swimmers at heart. That’s what it should be about, what’s best for the kids.”