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Iowa high school boys’ swimming 2022-23: Gazette area teams and swimmers to watch
Linn-Mar’s Ian Steffen returns after a 3rd-place state finish
Three Gazette area teams and seven area swimmers to keep an eye on during the 2022-23 Iowa high school boys’ swimming season.
Teams to watch
Iowa City High — The Little Hawks have a deeper group this season with 36 swimmers on the roster. Junior Joe Polyak placed at state in two events last year while senior Kento Yahashiri also was a key performer. Yahashiri, along with fellow seniors John Weigel and Grayson Willis, are the team captains for Coach Mandi Kowal's squad. Three other juniors — James Kardos, Owyn Noble and Charlie Pfohl — also provide some depth and experience for City High. A pair of freshmen, Philip Berry-Stoelzle and Braydon Calonder, should also contribute. “I believe that our team is stronger so the expectation is that we finish higher than last year,” Kowal said. “If we commit to the process, understand that the drive to win has to be there now, we can definitely finish better than we did last year.”
Iowa City West — Coach Byron Butler’s team faces a rebuilding year in his seventh season as the Trojans head coach. West lost many of its key scorers from last year's team that finished second at the state meet behind Waukee. Juniors Max Gerke and Holden Carter were state placewinners in 2022 and will be the building blocks for Butler this season. Senior Christian Janis was a state qualifier as well last season. Senior Ian Caballero, junior Sam Ruelas and freshman Winston Fan are potential state qualifiers as well, according to Butler. “We are absolutely in a rebuilding year,” he said. “Unless we get dramatically better somehow, we won’t compete for the title this season.”
Linn-Mar — Coach Tom Belin’s Lions finished fourth at the state meet last year, but lost their two top performers to graduation. However, the Lions do have senior Ian Steffen returning. He placed in two events at state last season. Juniors Blake Behrens and Ryan Horsey, along with sophomore Connor Schaffel, also return. Linn-Mar also added junior Mason Turner, who transferred from Cedar Rapids Kennedy. Turner placed fifth at state last year in the 500 freestyle. A pair of freshmen, Hudson Huberg and Parker Macho, have potential to not only qualify, but score at the state meet. “Our returning state swimmers have had great offseasons and should move up in the respective events. We have a number of boys that appear ready to step up this year,” Belin said. “They are practicing well and could make us a solid team.”
Swimmers to watch
Holden Carter, Iowa City West, jr. — Finished fifth at state in the 100 butterfly (50.12) and eighth in the 100 backstroke (51.94).
Max Gerke, Iowa City West, jr. — Finished sixth at state in the 500 freestyle (4:40.11) and ninth in the 200 freestyle (1:42.82).
Joe Polyak, Iowa City High, jr., — Finished fourth at state in the 200 individual medley (1:53.12) and sixth in the 100 breaststroke (57.72).
Ian Steffen, Linn-Mar, sr. — Finished third at state in the 100 backstroke (50.17) and sixth in the 100 freestyle (45.39)
Mason Turner, Linn-Mar, jr. — Finished fourth at state in the 500 freestyle (4:37.21) and 11th in the 200 IM (1:55.93) swimming last year at Kennedy
John Weigel, Iowa City High, sr. — Finished 10th at state in the 100 freestyle (47.44)
Kento Yahashiri, Iowa City High, jr. — Finished ninth at state in the 100 breaststroke (59.36)