MUSCATINE — It didn’t look all that hard for Daylon Shelangoski on Thursday evening.
The Muscatine freshman swimmer captured both Muskie event victories in personal-best times in a 117-53 dual loss to Pleasant Valley, the top-ranked team in the state power rankings, at the Carver Swim Center.
Taking the plunge into high school swimming, though, hasn’t been an easy transition for Shelangoski, despite his success at the Y club-team level.
“It’s been pretty difficult. Doing Y swim is nothing compared to this high school swimming. [Muscatine coach Judd Anderson] pushes us a lot harder than we would in Y swim,” Shelangoski said. “I did a little bit of USA swimming, but nothing much. After this high school season, I think I’m going to do some more USA swimming because it was tough coming right into high school.”
Shelangoski has made already made an impression, though, and his effort against the Spartans was another step. He won the 200 individual medley in 2 minutes, 6.34 seconds and the 100 backstroke in 57.76 seconds.
Muscatine also got runner-up finishes from Isaac Heth in the 50 freestyle (23.12) and 500 freestyle (5:10.22), with John Wieskamp finishing second in the 100 butterfly (59.14).
“Daylon’s going to be a big challenge this year,” Wieskamp said. “He’s swimming really good. … He’s going to surprise us. He’s surprised us all ready.”
Wieskamp’s third-place finish in the 200 IM and his efforts in the butterfly were also in personal-best times. He narrowly edged PV’s Vincent Gnad at the wall to finish second in the 100 fly after learning from being passed at the last moment in the same event by teammate Wade Whiteside in the team’s season-opening dual Dec. 1.
“I actually kind of paced myself on that race. Previously, I just went out there and gave it my all right off get-go,” Wieskamp said. “This time I kind of held back that first 50 and it ended up paying off in the end. I finished strong and out-touched the guy from PV.”
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The Muskie team of Shelangoski , Wieskamp, Heth and Kyle Schoer each finished second in the 200 free and 400 free relays.
“We’re teammates, but we’re also friends outside of swimming,” Wieskamp said of the relay. “We have a lot of chemistry and we work together well. Everybody wants to do well for themselves and for the team. That’s a good thing.”
Shelangoski swam another PR in his leadoff leg of the 400 free relay, capping a his best night as a high school swimmer. He had previously won one other individual title, the 200 IM in the season opener Dec. 1.
In the 200 IM, Shelangoski beat his previous best time by three seconds.
“Swimming against John always pushes me. I’ve been swimming with him since I was little, and every time I race I think we push a little bit farther than we usually go,” Shelangoski said. “... It was a good race, though.”
He was particularly pleased with the victory in the 100 back, a stroke he said was his worst last year at this time. He beat PV’s Nick Kontos to the wall by over a second.
That type of effort is something Anderson isn’t surprised by, and something he wouldn't mind seeing more of.
“He does very well,” Anderson said of Shelangoski. “Unfortunately, I wish we could get more of our guys to emulate his work ethic, his willingness to do the crazy things I ask them to do and keep on plugging.”