Gazette area boys’ swimmers and teams to watch this winter.
Cedar Rapids Washington — The Warriors’ amazing streak of 53 consecutive district championships came to an end last year when they were edged by Linn-Mar. Coach Chris Cruise’s team went on to place fourth at state and should be strong again this season despite the loss of Cameron Kelley, now swimming at the University of Minnesota. Seniors George Durin and Kaleb Donels had podium finishes at state. Juniors Jeremy Throndson, Zach Kolker and James Breitbart also scored at state which should add up to another solid season at Washington.
Iowa City West — Linn-Mar Coach Tom Belin said the Trojans, a ninth-place finisher at state last year, should be the team to beat in the Mississippi Valley Conference this year. “They have a deep team with more talent coming into the program this year,” Belin said. West lost state 50 freestyle state champion Oliver Martin to graduation. Coach Byron Butler’s team returns state qualifiers Ben Berhow, Lane Griffis, Brennan Keen and Izaak Hajek.
Linn-Mar — Belin’s team overcame adversity to end Washington’s streak last season. The district meet was moved from Linn-Mar to Coe at the last minute because of water temperature issues. “We could have been psyched out by that,” Belin said. “Instead, the guys embraced it and had a great meet.” The Lions went on to finish 14th at state. Seniors Matt Peng and Brycen Snell, both state placewinners, will lead a young, 44-member team.
Ben Berhow, sr., Iowa City West — Finished 11th in 100 breaststroke at 2017 state meet.
Nick Cavanah, soph., Linn-Mar — Finished 16th in 500 freestyle at state.
Kaleb Donels, sr., Cedar Rapids Washington — Took second in the 100 backstroke and ninth in the 200 individual medley at state and was part of the Warriors’ fourth-place 400 free relay and fifth-place 200 medley relay teams.
George Durin, sr., Cedar Rapids Washington — Finished fifth at state in the 50 freestyle and was part of the Warriors’ fourth-place 400 free relay and fifth-place 200 medley relay teams.
Noah Faldet, sr., Decorah — Finished 10th in 100 breaststroke at state.
Forrest Frazier, soph., Iowa City High — Took third in the 100 backstroke and ninth in the 100 breaststroke at state. Holds school records in three events.
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Lane Griffis, sr., Iowa City West — Finished 11th in 500 freestyle at state.
Izaak Hajek, soph., Iowa City West — Took 14th in 100 butterfly at state.
Zach Kolker, jr., Cedar Rapids Washington — Finished 15th in 500 freestyle at state
Matt Peng, sr., Linn-Mar — Finished third at state in the 100 butterfly and sixth in the 50 freestyle.
Brycen Snell, sr., Linn-Mar — Tied for 12th in the 100 freestyle at state.
Louis Stephan, soph., Iowa City High — Finished 12th in 100 breaststroke at state.
Eric Thomas, sr., Iowa City High — Finished 16th in 200 individual medley at state.
Jeremy Throndson, jr., Cedar Rapids Washington — Finished 14th in 200 freestyle at state and was on Warriors’ fourth-place finisher in 400 freestyle relay.