116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Gazette area teams and swimmers to watch for the 2021 Iowa high school boys’ swimming season.
Teams to watch
Cedar Rapids Washington — Coach Matt Sinnott's first Warriors team returns some talented swimmers from a group that finished 12th at last year's state meet. Seniors Grady Wheeler and Ryan McCaffery will be the team leaders. Wheeler was 12th at state in the 50-yard freestyle while McCaffery was 18th in the 100 backstroke. Other top returners include senior Tyler Orme and juniors Ian Lucas and Seth Williams along with sophomore Ian McGrath.
“Our expectations as a team is to continue to compete in every swim meet,” Sinnott said. “We will compete for conference and district championships. We will qualify as many swimmers and relays for the state meet as possible. We have a group of swimmers with something to prove and who are up to the challenge.”
Iowa City West — The Trojans are coming off a third-place finish at last season's state meet and return several key performers from that group. Three members of the state champion 200 medley relay team — seniors Boyd Skelley and Jordan Christensen, along with sophomore Holden Carter — are back for Coach Byron Butler. All three also placed in the top eight in individual events. Other key returners include seniors Kirk Brotherton, Damon Conzemius, Nik Sung, Max Gerke, Andy Luo and Quinn Wubbena.
“We have a really solid varsity with a good amount of experience,” Butler said. “If they can stay hungry and channel their ability toward a goal, we should do well.”
Linn-Mar — The Lions have the firepower returning to unseat West as MVC champions. Coach Tom Belin's team finished fifth at state last season, the best team finish in school history. Two NCAA Division I commits — Aiden Carstensen (South Dakota State) and Cooper Callahan (Purdue) — return from that team. Carstensen was the state champion in the 100 backstroke and was fifth in the 100 butterfly. Callahan was second in the 200 free and third in the 500 free. Junior Ian Steffen was sixth in the 100 backstroke. Sophomore Luke Kelley was ninth in the 500 free and 14th in the 200 free. Other top returners include seniors Gavin Beech and AJ Helmle along with juniors Ryan Horsey and Blake Behrens. Sophomore Connor Schaffel, a transfer from Cedar Falls, will supply depth.
“We should be a stronger and deeper team this year,” Belin said. “Our top performers swam through the offseason and have competed well, with meaningful time drops from last year. The boys have a chance to exceed last year’s fifth-place finish, if they remain focused as a team.”
Swimmers to watch
Kirk Brotherton, sr., Iowa City West — Finished fourth at state in the 50-yard freestyle (21.02) and fifth in the 100 free (46.54) and was on West's runner-up finisher in the 200 free relay.
Cooper Callahan, sr., Linn-Mar — A Purdue commit, he finished second at state in the 200 free (1:39.52) and third in the 500 free (4:33.49).
Aiden Carstensen, sr. Linn-Mar — A South Dakota State commit, he won the state title in the 100 backstroke (49.83) and finished fifth in the 100 butterfly (50.28).
Holden Carter, soph., Iowa City West — Finished eighth in the 100 butterfly at state (50.95) and was on West's winning 200 medley relay.
Jordan Christensen, jr., Iowa City West — Finished second at state in the 100 breaststroke (56.56) and sixth in the 200 IM (1:55.14). Was also on West's winning 200-medley relay and runner-up 200 free relay.
Caleb Coons, sr., Iowa City High — Finished third in the 100 backstroke at state (50.40).
Carter Kirtz, sr., Vinton-Shellsburg — Finished eighth in the 100 breaststroke at state (59.64).
Ian Steffen, jr., Linn-Mar — Finished sixth in the 100 backstroke at state (51.59)
Mason Turner, soph., Cedar Rapids Kennedy — Finished sixth at state in the 500 free (4:41.15).