Prep Sports

Iowa boys' state swimming: West, City High hope to make big splash

Championships are Saturday at University of Iowa pool

Iowa City West's Izaak Hajek. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Iowa City West's Izaak Hajek. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Saturday’s boys’ state swimming meet could end up having a distinctive host city flavor.

Iowa City’s two entrants, West and City High, could provide two of the bigger storylines.

West has been a dominant team all season and is among the favorites in what should be a tight battle for the team championship.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of a team, it’s incredible,” said West Coach Byron Butler. “We preach team, team, team, team. It doesn’t matter except what you do for the team.”

Individually, City High junior Forrest Frazier, the outstanding swimmer of the 2018 state meet, will defend his title in the 100-yard breaststroke after missing the entire regular season with junior national commitments and a shoulder injury.

The University of Iowa’s Campus Recreation and Wellness Center Pool will host the meet, set to begin just after noon, for the second straight year.

“Most of us swim and train there,” said West junior Izaak Hajek. “It’s really a home pool for us and it is a really fast pool.”

West is ranked fourth in the power rankings behind Bettendorf, Waukee and West Des Moines Dowling but the gap between the top four is less than 80 points.

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Butler has artfully moved his swimmers around to give West the best chance to succeed as a team. West rolled to titles at the Mississippi Valley Conference and district meets. One rival coach credits Butler for the Trojans’ success.

“Iowa City West has good swimmers, but they also have a great coach in Byron Butler,” said Linn-Mar Coach Tom Belin, whose team is ninth in the latest power rankings, one spot behind Cedar Rapids Washington. “He gets everything out of his swimmers. West is fortunate to have him as the head coach.”

The Trojans have qualified swimmers in 10 of the 11 events. Hajek has the best qualifying time in the 100 butterfly (50.57 seconds) and is No. 3 in the 200 individual medley (1:56.40). Teammate James Pinter is the top qualifier in the 200 freestyle (1:41.77) and is third-best in the 100 freestyle (46.54).

Pinter has been a key addition in and out of the pool. His family moved into the area from Wisconsin and he has fit right in with his teammates.

“We needed somebody exactly like him, his personality, how fast he can go, everything about him,” Hajek said of his fellow junior. “He brings something to the team that we were missing last year.”

Pinter provided Butler with options all season. At last Saturday’s district meet, Butler opted to swim Pinter in the 200 free, putting him in back-to-back events. He responded by posting the top district time in the event.

“We’ve gone back and forth on whether we were going to do the 100 back or 200 free with James all year,” he said. “We decided that we didn’t care if he was coming off the medley, let’s do that 200 free.”

A state title is a goal Pinter believes the Trojans can reach.

“There’s some really fast teams across the state,” he said. “We’re hoping to get up there and we have the advantage of being able to sleep in our own beds. We’re excited for it.”

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Frazier was a two-event state champion last year but did not compete in the 100 butterfly at the district meet. He is the state record-holder in the 100 breaststroke and his qualifying time was almost two seconds faster than the time posted by Keokuk’s Dylan Jones.

Linn-Mar junior Nick Cavanah is the top qualifier in the 100 backstroke (51.39). The Lions foursome of Cooper Callahan, Aiden Carstensen, Alex Cochrane and Cavanah has the second-best qualifying time in the 400 freestyle relay behind Bettendorf and just ahead of Washington’s James Breitbart, Zach Kolker, Jeremy Throndson and Mitchell Hause. Throndson has the second-best qualifying time in the 200 free and is No. 3 in the 500 free.

2019 state meet qualifiers

At Iowa City

(Campus Recreation and Wellness Center)

Top qualifier plus area

200 medley relay — 1. West Des Moines Dowling 1:35.85; 6. Iowa City West (James Pinter, Val Trussov, Izaak Hajek, Michael Kimball) 1:37.74; 7. C.R. Washington (Ethan Ford, Max Novetzke, Zach Kolker, Grady Wheeler) 1:38.32; 8. Iowa City High (Caleb Coons, Forrest Frazier, Brennan Hill, Isaac Weigel) 1:38.32; 16. Linn-Mar (Aiden Carstensen, Connor Olson, Luke Richard, Daniel Medin) 1:40.46; 24. Decorah (Gus Grimstad, Jackson Penny, Bradyn Hook, Christian Johnson) 1:42.22.

200 free — 1. James Pinter (ICW), 1:41.77; 2. Jeremy Throndson (CRW), 1:42.16; 4. Nick Cavanah (LM), 1:43.84; 10. Cooper Callahan (LM), 1:45.80; 12. Zach Kolker (CRW), 1:46.02; 13. Isaac Weigel (ICH), 1:46.71; 18. Mitchell Hause (CRW), 1:47.83.

200 IM — 1. Cameron Linder (Waukee), 1:53.31; 3. Izaak Hajek (ICW), 1:56.40; 8. Aiden Carstensen (LM), 1:58.57.

50 free — 1. Charlie Bunn (Bettendorf), 20.95; 14. James Breitbart (CRW), 21.86; 18. Michael Kimball (ICW), 22.05; 19. Drew Simmons (CRJ), 22.08; 20. Kirk Brotherton (ICW), 22.09.

100 fly — 1. Izaak Hajek (ICW), 50.57; 8. Gus Grimstad (Decorah), 52.87; 14. Val Trussov (ICW), 53.91; 19. Aiden Carstensen (LM), 54.23.

100 free — 1. Charlie Bunn (Bettendorf), 45.72; 3. James Pinter (ICW), 46.54; 20. Drew Simmons (CRJ), 48.46; 22. Michael Kimball (ICW), 48.59; 23. Kirk Brotherton (ICW), 48.78.

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500 free — 1. Dylan Moffatt (Cedar Falls), 4:35.53; 3. Jeremy Throndson (CRW), 4:40.43; 4. Cooper Callahan (LM), 4:43.82; 10. Zach Kolker (CRW), 4:49.69; 11. Isaac Weigel (ICH), 4:49.94; 16. Andy Luo (ICW), 4:55.78; 22. Nikolas Sung (ICW), 5:01.03.

200 free relay — 1. Bettendorf 1:25.11; 3. Iowa City West (Kirk Brotherton, Michael Kimball, Val Trussov, James Pinter) 1:27.04; 7. Linn-Mar (Daniel Medin, Alex Cochrane, Cooper Callahan, Nick Cavanah) 1:28.13; 8. C.R. Washington (James Breitbart, Ethan Ford, Grady Wheeler, Jeremy Throndson) 1:28.31; 24. C.R. Kennedy (Sean Casey, Michael Bryant, Conlin Byers, Reese Manternach) 1:32.25.

100 back — 1. Nick Cavanah (LM), 51.39; 9. Gus Grimstad (Decorah), 53.76; 13. Ethan Ford (CRW), 54.74; 18. Caleb Coons (ICH), 55.28; 22. Sean Casey (CRK), 55.61.

100 breaststroke — 1. Forrest Frazier (ICH), 56.75; 12. Tate Happel (ICW), 1:02.06; 22. Val Trussov (ICW), 1:02.75; 23. Max Novetzke (CRW), 1:02.79.

400 free relay — 1. Bettendorf 3:08.78; 2. Linn-Mar (Cooper Callahan, Aiden Carstensen, Alex Cochrane, Nick Cavanah) 3:13.12; 5. C.R. Washington (James Breitbart, Zach Kolker, Jeremy Throndson, Mitchell Hause) 3:14.19; 13. Iowa City West (Kirk Brotherton, Nikolas Sung, Izaak Hajek, Tate Happel) 3:18.24; 24. C.R. Kennedy (Sean Casey, Zach Johansen, Conlin Byers, Reese Manternach) 3:23.56.

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