Boys swimming places third at state

The boys swim team placed third at the state meet in Marion on Feb. 13 behind a state title from the 200 medley relay.

Different pool. New team. Same goal.

With the state meet moved to Linn-Mar due to COVID-19 restrictions at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center in Iowa City, and many teams experiencing unpredictable seasons, the scene of the boys state swim meet was unlike any other year. In addition to enduring a season held during a pandemic, the defending state champions lost four varsity swimmers from last year’s roster. Despite these changes, the Trojan Bolts kept the same mindset for the state meet.

“With the 5-week hiatus and social distance policy, it was really hard to keep the strong team bonding as we did last season,” said Nik Sung ’22. “But with having race practices and toward championship season, I think the idea that we are swimming for the team not ourselves helped us stay strong.”

The boys swim team took home the third place trophy with a score of 208.5 points at the Linn-Mar Aquatic Center on Feb. 13.

To start off the meet, the Trojan Bolts claimed the state title in the 200 medley relay team of Boyd Skelley ’22, Jordan Christensen ’22, Holden Carter ’24 and Luke Nichols ’21. The team swam an automatic All-American time of 1:32.24.

“It was a really great feeling,” Christensen said. “At the start of the season we knew we had a chance to win it this year. We got really close last year, and I feel like that’s what fueled the relay this year. I don’t think any of us expected to win by two seconds which made it even better.”

Christensen finished first in his heat and sixth overall in the 200 IM with a time of 1:55.14 along with teammate Sung who finished 14th with a time of 1:59.49.

In the 50 freestyle, Kirk Brotherton ’22 touched the wall in 21.15 placing him fourth on the podium. Nichols tied in seventh place with a time of 21.45 to put the Trojan Bolts in second place with 87.5 points in team standings.

In his first individual state meet appearance, Carter placed eighth in the 100 butterfly with a time of 50.95.

Brotherton stepped back on the podium for the 100 free, placing fifth with a time of 46.54. Andy Luo ’22 took a dominating lead early in the 500 freestyle to win his heat (4:51.23) alongside teammate Lucas Swanson who finished second (4:53.11). Freshman Max Gerke won the second heat of the 500 free in 4:47.71.

The 200 freestyle relay of Brotherton, Skelley, Christensen and Nichols battled in a close race to place second in the event. The team finished with an All-American time of 1.24.50, 0.1 seconds ahead of third place Waukee.

In the last individual race of the meet, Christensen stopped the clock at 56.56 in the 100 breaststroke. Christensen was runner-up with an All-American consideration time.

The 400 freestyle relay of Carter, Max Gerke ’24, Sung and Brotherton went a 3:11.43 to cap off the meet. Brotherton showed some power speed as the anchor leg, closing the gap between first-place Linn-Mar in the second heat of the event. The relay team placed eighth overall to secure the Trojan Bolt’s third place finish. Head Coach Byron Butler was recognized as the district coach of the year.

With the team graduating one senior and having most swimmers returning on the roster, Sung has his hopes up for next season.

“We are hopefully going to gain the people we lost last year [Damon Conzemius ’22] and I can see all of us improving so much,” Sung said. “We’re really looking at gaining our state title again.”