MUSCATINE, Iowa — When Muscatine High School boys swimmer Alex Walton heard his coach Judd Anderson will be inducted into the Iowa High School Swim Coaches’ Association Hall of Fame before Saturday’s state meet in Marshalltown, he only had one reaction.
“About time,” Walton said. “I figured they would do it a long time ago.”
Anderson, who is also the Muscatine girls swimming coach, has been the boys coach for the past 51 years and, with tongue firmly in cheek, said he would have preferred to have the honor bestowed upon him late in life.
“I hoped they would’ve waited 15 years or something so I am in a home someplace before they do this kind of stuff,” Anderson joked, before adding, “To me, it’s not significant as far as the meet is concerned.”
Anderson will be inducted with three former athletes — Clinton’s Raymond Kearney, Dowling Catholic’s Zachary Ferguson and Ames’ Andrew W. Van Meter.
Anderson, who was a charter member of the IHSSCA, has a combined record of 667-379-5 in dual meets between his two teams and he has won five state championships, three with the boys.
He was also given the Golden Plaque of Distinction by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union before the girls' state meet in November.
“It’s relatively easy to do because this is a great place to coach and it’s an easy place to coach,” Anderson said. “Our kids do very well in all things at Muscatine.”
Walton, who is attempting to become only the third Muskie swimmer with seven state titles, said Anderson has meant a lot to him.
“He’s been instrumental in what I’ve been able to do,” Walton said. “He’s the reason for my success in the 200 [individual medley]. I dropped I think 10 seconds in it my freshman year and I give him credit for that.”
Anderson's swimmers are confident it is an honor their coach merits.
“The man deserves it and has been at it a while,” senior Matt Sovers said. “It’s just nice that he gets awarded for all of his work. His dedication, I haven’t see it in any other coach in the sport at all.”
Veterans and newcomers to the Muskie program enjoy how Anderson works with them to become better swimmers.
“I like him and he is really nice,” freshman John Wieskamp said. “I can’t imagine anyone else being the coach of the swim team and no one else could do the job the way he does it.”