Here are three Gazette area teams and eight Gazette area swimmers to watch for the 2020-21 Iowa high school boys’ swimming season.
Teams to watch
Iowa City High — New coach Mandi Kowal has a solid group of veteran swimmers returning from a team that finished fifth at the 2020 state meet. Multi-time state champion Forrest Frazier has graduated and is now swimming at Cal. However the other three swimmers who combined with Frazier to win the 200-yard medley relay state title return. Senior Isaac Weigel placed in the 200 and 500 freestyle while junior Caleb Coons was seventh in the 100 back. Bryce Edens also gives the Little Hawks a solid sprint freestyler. “I can tell that the group has tremendous potential,” Kowal said. “There are some top guys who know what it takes to compete and have extensive experience. and have been swimming hard with their clubs. Then we have the rest of the team who are motivated and know how to compete.”
Iowa City West — Coach Byron Butler’s defending state champions have some big holes to fill. James Pinter, a state champ in the 100 backstroke, and Izaak Hajek have graduated. West suffered another loss when sophomore Diggory Dillingham, who was second in the 50 and third in the 100 free, moved to North Carolina with his family over the summer. Another sophomore, Damon Conzemius, who scored points at state, could miss the season with an injury. West does return junior Jordan Christensen, who was second to City’s Frazier in the 100 breaststroke at state. Senior Luke Nichols, along with juniors Kirk Brotherton, Boyd Skelley, Andy Luo, Nik Sung and Gavin Keeney are other top returners. “We certainly lost a lot of talent,” Butler said, “but we are certainly going to try and still have a presence at the state meet.”
Linn-Mar — Veteran coach Tom Belin believes the Lions can improve on last year’s seventh-place state finish despite the loss of state place-winner Nick Cavanah to graduation. Junior Aiden Carstensen and Cooper Callhan were top-eight finishers in two events. Seniors Luke Richard and Greg Gerst, along with sophomore Ian Steffen, also have state experience. Linn-Mar may have one of the state’s top freshmen in Luke Kelley, whose older brother Cameron was a state champion swimmer at Cedar Rapids Washington and is currently a senior at Minnesota. “The addition of Kelley and the maturation of other returning swimmers give us depth and flexibility,” Belin said.
Swimmers to watch
Cooper Callahan, Linn-Mar, jr. — Finished fifth in the 500-yard freestyle and seventh in 200 freestyle at 2020 state meet.
Aiden Carstensen, Linn-Mar, jr. — Finished third in the 100 backstroke and seventh in 200 IM at 2020 state meet.
Jordan Christensen, Iowa City West, jr. — Finished second in the 100 breaststroke and sixth in 200 IM at state last season.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
Caleb Coons, Iowa City High, jr. — Finished seventh in the 100 backstroke and swam the first leg of City High’s state championship 200 medley relay effort last season.
Bryce Edens, Iowa City High, jr. — Swam the anchor leg of City High’s state championship 200 medley relay effort last season.
Gus Grimstead, Decorah, sr. — Finished eighth in the 100 butterfly at last year’s state meet.
Mats McGrath, Cedar Rapids Washington, sr. — Finished sixth in 200 freestyle at state in 2020.
Isaac Weigel, Iowa City High, sr. — Finished third in the 500 freestyle and fourth in 200 freestyle and also swam third leg of City High’s state championship 200-medley relay effort last season.
l Comments: (319) 398-8252; firstname.lastname@example.org