For John Wieskamp and Isaac Heth, this is the ending to their Muskie swimming careers they had envisioned.
“Might as well go out with bang, right?” Wieskamp said before practice Thursday.
The senior joins Heth as the only three-time state qualifiers on the Muskie swimming team, but they’ll have some company Saturday when they travel to the University of Iowa’s Campus Recreation and Wellness Center to compete with Iowa’s best prep swimmers.
Freshman Ryan Boeding will make his first trip, swimming in the 50 freestyle, 200-free relay and 400-free relay. Sophomore Daylon Shelangoski is back for the second time, competing in the 100 butterfly and 200-free relay. Junior Wade Whiteside also will return with an entry in the 400-free relay.
Wieskamp will join Boeding in the 50 free and swim with Heth on both relays.
“It’s great to get two relays there this year,” Heth said. “We got two last year, so it was good to see that we could come back and go even faster. It’s going to be a good way to go out. I’m excited, I’m happy, I’m pretty content with how it all went down.”
The Muskies own the 14th best time in the state in the 200-free relay (1:29.84) and the 21st best time in the 400-free relay (3:19.59), both of which were swam at districts.
Coach Judd Anderson hopes his swimmers can build off that momentum this Saturday.
“Our kids have had great meets,” Anderson said. “Both the district meet and the JV meet the week before we had fabulous times. That can build some enthusiasm.”
The goal now is to swim all personal bests on Saturday.
“This last Saturday at districts, I did just that, and I hope to swim even faster this Saturday,” said Wieskamp, who swam the 50 free in a career-best 22.26 seconds, .01 second faster than Boeding. “I hope to see all my teammates swim PRs as well. That’s the main goal, just get better every time.”
The focus this week has primarily been on fine-tuning the little details, working on starts, turns and making sure streamlines are tight.
Come Saturday, the majority of the swimmers will be competing in an unfamiliar pool, but Anderson thinks having the meet in Iowa City will benefit his team after traveling to Marshaltown in previous years.
“Two good things develop from that,” Anderson said. “One, we can sleep in our own bed the night before, and I don’t have to babysit them. They can eat mom’s cooking rather than restaurant’s cooking the night before, so those should all be positives.”
For the swimmers, especially the seniors, they’re just happy to get one last opportunity to compete together this season.
“It’s pretty special,” Wieskamp said. “I’ve been swimming with these guys for a long time, most of my life. For us to go up there together and have one last hurrah, it’s going to be nice.”