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West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

The student news source of Iowa City West High

West Side Story

Trojan Bolts break a state record and place 5th at State

The West-Liberty boys take 5th place with 168 points at the State Championship Feb. 9-10.
Gianna Liu
Max Gerke ’24 holds up the peace sign before the 100-yard Butterfly at the IHSAA State Championships Feb. 9.

The Trojan Bolts boys are back on home ground, competing at the CRWC for the 2024 State Championship swim meet. After scoring 136 points and placing 8th place last season, the swimmers are ready for another shot to get a higher score on the board. 

On Jan. 20, the boys left the Mississippi Valley District Conference (MVC) with 8 single event qualifies to state, 2 relay qualifies to state and placing 4th in the MVC. 


Day 1: Preliminaries 

The team begins with Winston Fan ‘26, competing in the 200-yard Individual Medley. Fan drops around 3 seconds from MVC and finishes at 1:55:46, placing 9th in the preliminaries. 

Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis commit Max Gerke ‘24 follows with the 50-yard Freestyle, finishing at 20.82 and qualifying for the championship race. 

Gerke and Columbia commit Holden Carter ‘24 swims the 100-yard Butterfly, with both of them qualifying for the championship race. Carter finishes first overall with a 48.85, and Gerke comes close in after with a 50.11. 

Hayden Hakes ‘25 takes 1st in the preliminaries for the 500-yard Freestyle. He finishes with a 1-second lead and qualifies for the championship race. 

Carter drops 2 seconds from MVC and finishes 5th in the 100-yard backstroke prelims with a time of 52.66. Sophomore Oliver Milkulski ‘26 placed twenty-eighth with a 55.30. 

Finally, the day ends off with Fan and Brennan Westphal ‘24 swimming the 100-yard Breakstroke. They place tenth and twentieth place respectively. 

Day 2: Finals 

The boys are back at the pool on a bright Saturday afternoon for the relays and the final races of the individual events. 

Last season, Carter finished 2nd in the 100-yard Butterfly and 4th in the 100-yard Freestyle. Today, he returns one last time, with the same events, as a senior to try and beat his previous times. 

Day 2 starts with a bang, and the boys are off in the water. Hakes leads off with the Backstroke, followed by Fan, Carter and Gerke anchoring off with the Freestyle. After a neck-and-neck race with West Des Moines Valley, the Gerke finishes it off at 1:30.31. The four also set the new 200-yard Medley relay state record, breaking the previous record set by the Trojan Bolts in 2022. 


Unfortunately, the 200-yard Freestyle Relay team got disqualified. 

Fan continues to take eleventh place overall in the 200-yard Medley Individual with a time of 1:55.27. He also finishes 10th in the 100-yard Breastroke. 

Gerke takes 4th place overall in the 50-yard Freestyle with a time of 20.92. He also finishes 5th in the 100-yard Butterfly. 

Hakes completes the 500-yard Freestyle with a silver medal and a time of 4:28.63, dropping 2 seconds from preliminaries. 

Carter did not disappoint with his last year and took gold in the 100-yard Butterfly and 4th in the 100-yard Backstroke. He finishes his events with a time of 48.57 and 50.55, respectively. 

The Trojan Bolts ended their season with 5 wins out of 6 dual meets, placed in the top 5 in all of their invitational meets and 5th place in the 2024 State Championship meet with 168 points. 

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About the Contributor
Gianna Liu, Print Sports and Photo Editor
(she/her) Gianna is a Junior and is starting her second year on staff! She is the Photo and Sports Editor this year for print, which is exactly what she loves to do: photography and volleyball! When she isn't doing those or writing, you will catch her binge-watching K-dramas, reading (fiction), biking or perfecting her skin-care routine.
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