Since it opened in November of 2013, the Linn-Mar Aquatic Center has been the gold standard of high school swimming venues in Eastern Iowa.
Now there are two.
Last Saturday, the state of the art Dubuque Community School District Aquatic Center, located at Hempstead High School, hosted its first meet and will play host to the Mississippi Valley Conference boys’ meet on Feb. 25.
Not surprisingly, the Linn-Mar facility served as a model for Dubuque.
“Dubuque used our pool as a starting point,” said Linn-Mar Coach Tom Belin. “They essentially built on what we did to match their needs. The swimming community is close, and we welcomed the opportunity to share with them what we learned and experience.”
The eight-lane pool measures 121 feet by 75 feet and features a movable bulkhead. Bleachers set above the pool can seat 329 people. The Dubuque Telegraph-Herald reported Dubuque school district officials plan to add more bleachers along the back wall to seat another 83.
The TH also reported district leaders dealt with persistent issues with leaks in the old Hempstead pool that was decommissioned in early 2019 after workers discovered the soil under the old deck was saturated enough to hinder construction of the new facility. The earlier-than-planned decommissioning of the old pool pushed back the completion date for the new facility into early December.
It passed final inspections on Jan. 8 and played host to last Saturday’s Mustang Invitational.
The Linn-Mar facility has been the host for most big area meets since it opened. Belin said other schools have rented the LM facility when it has been time to host conference meets. He is excited to see the new Dubuque facility.
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“We can’t wait to swim at their pool,” Belin said. “The Dubuque community took their time to do it right, and they built a first-class natatorium that will engage more local swimming, much like what’s happened with Linn-Mar.
Iowa City West ranked No. 1
If the early numbers are any indication, Iowa City West appears to the favorite to capture the state team title at next month’s state meet.
Coach Byron Butler’s team sits atop the state power rankings through Tuesday, well in front of No. 2 Ankeny and No. 3 Bettendorf. Linn-Mar is ranked No. 9, just ahead of Iowa City High.
The Trojans have swimmers ranked in the top six of each event outside of the 500-yard freestyle. West ranks No. 1 in the 200 medley relay, second in the 400 free relay and third in the 200 free relay. Senior Izaak Hajek is ranked first in the 50 butterfly. Another senior, James Pinter, is second in the 200 free and 100 back. Sophomore Jordan Christensen is second in the 100 breaststroke.
Three-time state champion Forrest Frazier of Iowa City High leads the state in the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke. Teammate Isaac Weigel is second in the 500 free and third in the 200 free.
Linn-Mar sophomore Cooper Callahan is second in the 200 IM, third in the 500 free and fourth in the 200 free. The Lions are also among the top six in all three relays.