MARION — The Linn-Mar Aquatic Center has been recognized as one of the top swimming facilities in Iowa since it opened in 2013.
Now, it will get to host one of the state’s most prestigious meets.
The Iowa High School Athletic Association announced Wednesday the boys’ state meet will be held at Linn-Mar on Feb. 13. The IHSAA announced in December the meet was being moved from the University of Iowa’s Campus and Wellness Recreation pool due to COVID-19.
“We’re grateful to Linn-Mar for stepping up as an able and willing host school for the 2021 IHSAA State Swimming Championships,” said IHSAA executive director Tom Keating in a release.
Lions athletics director David Brown said the school is honored to host the meet.
“Linn-Mar is excited to be working with the IHSAA as the host for the 2021 state boys swimming meet,” he said. “After many conversations we feel we can manage this event safely in the Linn-Mar Aquatic Center. We have a lot of work to do but we will be ready to welcome the best boys’ swimmers from across the state on Feb. 13.”
Linn-Mar has served as the co-host of the last three state meets in Iowa City with Iowa City West. The Lions facility has hosted a number of large meets since its opening. The state meet will not be anything new in that regard.
“Our venue will provide a great experience for the boys,” Linn-Mar Coach Tom Belin said. “Similar to (Iowa’s pool), we have a deep water pool with wide 9-foot lanes. It will be a fast and loud meet.”
The meet had previously been set for a two-day preliminary and final format at Iowa, where the meet had been held the past three years after a long run at the Marshalltown YMCA. The total number of qualifiers for the one-day state meet with timed finals — 32 entries for individual events, 24 teams for relay events from six state-qualifying meet sites — is an increase from 2020 and will remain equal to what was planned in the two-day format.
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“Swimming has faced challenging circumstances throughout this school year,” Keating stated in the release. “The IHSAA appreciates the efforts of participating schools, officials, and competitors to even make this boys’ swimming season and postseason possible.”
As was the case with the girls’ state meet last November in Marshalltown, spectators will not be permitted at state or any of the state qualifying meets. Attendance will be limited to participants, event staff, administrators and coaches, and approved media members.
The state meet will be streamed through IHSAA partner NFHS Network.
The IHSAA’s release also noted it is looking forward to working with the University of Iowa for future state meets.
Sites and assignments for the Feb. 6 state-qualifying meets are scheduled to be released next week.
Host sites of state-qualifying meets have the option of providing video streaming of the event at no charge to the host site or to viewers.