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Linn-Mar freshman Hudson Huberg is already establishing himself as one of Iowa’s top swimmers
Lions host district meet this Saturday
MARION — The talent is obvious. The potential has yet to be reached.
When Linn-Mar boys’ swimming coach Tom Belin starts talking about the ceiling for Hudson Huberg, the smile on his face tells the whole story.
“One of the things we preach is the little things,” Belin said of his freshman sprint freestyler. “He is going to be a phenomenal swimmer once he gets the little things down.
“He's just raw and I love the opportunity to work with someone who is that talented, yet that raw, in his ability to swim.”
Huberg and his Lions teammates will get one more chance to shine in their home pool on Saturday. The Linn-Mar Aquatic Center will host one of six district meets across the state, all beginning at noon.
Linn-Mar, along with Cedar Rapids rivals Jefferson, Kennedy and Washington will be in the eight-team field, along with Williamsburg from The Gazette’s coverage area. The Lions are ranked fourth in the latest power rankings behind Waukee, West Des Moines Valley and Ames. Washington is eighth.
Belin's assessment of Huberg's raw ability is easy to see. Even as a freshman, he has the traditional look of a swimmer. He already has grown past the 6-foot mark and is continuing to build both his strength and technique.
“I've learned a lot this year,” Huberg said. “I've made a lot of new friends with this team and it is really fun to compete with them.”
Huberg has quickly established himself as one of the state's top sprinters. His time of 21.43 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle is second only to Waukee’s multi-time state champion AJ Abram. Huberg has the fourth fastest 100 free time (47.09) entering districts and is a member of two top-five relay teams for the Lions.
A veteran presence has helped Huberg and all the younger Lions develop throughout the season. Senior Blake Behrens said Huberg and his younger teammates have responded.
“We definitely do our part to push them,” Behrens said. “There are days when some of them are feeling down and it is our job to get them back up and continuing to work during practice.”
The Lions won the Mississippi Valley Conference Super Meet on Jan. 21 while still in the middle of heavy training. Belin is excited to see more on Saturday.
“We're nowhere near done,” Belin said. “We've got a long way to go. I can't wait to see what we do (at the district meet).”
No. 6 Iowa City West and No. 14 Iowa City High were placed in different districts. The Trojans will be in the field at Dubuque Hempstead, along with area schools Decorah and Vinton-Shellsburg. The Little Hawks will compete at Davenport Central.
Top-ranked Waukee will compete at Fort Dodge while No. 2 West Des Moines Valley will be in the Johnston district. No. 3 Ames and No. 5 Ankeny were placed in the same district, hosted by the Little Cyclones.
The fastest 32 individual swimmers and 24 relay teams from district competition will qualify for state competition. The state meet is scheduled for Feb. 10-11 at the University of Iowa’s Campus Recreation & Wellness Center in Iowa City.
Tickets for 2023 district meets are on sale through the Tickets page on the IHSAA website. All sites will utilize digital tickets through IHSAA partner HomeTown Ticketing.
Iowa high school boys’ swimming district assignments
- At Linn-Mar: Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Cedar Rapids Washington, Linn-Mar, Muscatine, Oskaloosa, Ottumwa, Williamsburg.
- At Dubuque Hempstead: Cedar Falls, Clinton, Decorah, Dubuque Hempstead, Dubuque Senior, Iowa City West, Vinton-Shellsburg, Waterloo.
- At Davenport Central: Bettendorf, Burlington, Davenport Central, Davenport North, Davenport West, Iowa City High, Keokuk, Pleasant Valley.
- At Johnston: Atlantic, Centerville, Council Bluffs Lewis Central, Des Moines East, Johnston, Newton, West Des Moines Dowling, West Des Moines Valley.
- At Ames: Ames, Ankeny, Des Moines Hoover/North, Des Moines Lincoln, Grinnell, Indianola, Marshalltown, Mason City.
- At Fort Dodge: Boone, Carroll, Des Moines Roosevelt, Fort Dodge, Sioux City, Southeast Polk, Spencer, Waukee.