Muscatine head coach Judd Anderson knew his girls swimming team would be up against it at its home dual meet against Pleasant Valley, one of the premier swimming teams in the state, on Tuesday. As a result, he made the decision ahead of time that he was going to mix up his lineup to give girls a chance in different events.

The result, at least on the scoreboard, was a resounding 143-42 dual meet loss for the Muskies. The Spartans had two swimmers in the top two in all 12 events, and they even had the top three placers in four of those. Even so, Anderson saw plenty of encouraging signs from his team Tuesday evening.

“One thing we’ll talk about is how we were able to compete through the first half of the races,” Anderson said. “We didn’t always finish strong and look good at the end, but we keep harping on trying to do the little things.”

Samara Perkins led the way for the Muskies with two individual third place finishes, and she also swam the first leg of two relay teams that placed third. Regardless of what the scoreboard said, she was pleased with the times both her and her teammates were able to record.

Perkins placed third in 2:09.51 in the 200-meter freestyle as well as in the 500-meter freestyle in 5:56.17. She teamed up with Renee Kerr, Hope Reichert and Sarah Schoer to place third in 1:51.65 in the 200-meter freestyle relay, and Perkins, Kerr, Reichert and Jaelynn Klein placed third in the 400-meter freestyle relay in 4:09.25.

“I don’t think I did too badly,” Perkins said. “I just tried not to think too hard. If you overthink it you usually don’t swim as hard as you can.”

Even though she didn’t swim the backstroke Tuesday, Perkins said that’s one event she’s hoping to improve in before the district meet.

As a team, Muscatine still has a few unanswered questions with its lineup and it only has one more meet, a home dual against Iowa City West next Tuesday, to do just that. The top priority for Anderson will be to determine who he wants to place in the relay races, and then he will build the rest of the lineup around that.

“We tried Hope Reichert in the relays but she didn’t do so well,” Anderson said. “We have to find one more person. That kind of makes or breaks the whole thing.”

However, Anderson noted that Reichert swam very well in the 100-meter freestyle and solidified herself in that spot moving forward. She placed third in that event in 59.43. Klein recorded a third place finish in the 200-meter medley, while Allie Nietzel also placed third in the 50-meter freestyle.

Outside of a handful of top three finishes, another result that jumped out to Anderson was Schoer in the 100 meter freestyle, as she placed fourth and held off Pleasant Valley’s Danielle Nauman by one-one hundredth of a second.

“We’ll pat her on the back for that one,” Anderson exclaimed. “That’s exactly how Michael Phelps won his eighth gold medal.”

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Sports Reporter