MUSCATINE — Judd Anderson joked that shoulder injuries must be contagious with his team.
With a handful of members of the Muscatine boys swimming team out with shoulder problems, Ian Hilbrant and Scott Schafer led the charge against Davenport West on Thursday night.
The duo combined to claim five of Muscatine's nine event victories against the Falcons as the Muskies rolled to a 114-52 Mississippi Athletic Conference win at the Carver Swim Center.
Hilbrant won the 100 butterfly in 1 minute, 1.79 seconds and the 100 backstroke in 1:01.74; Schafer won the 100 breaststroke in 1:09.86 and the 200 IM in 2:13.69 and the two were also part of a winning team in the 200 medley relay, along with Evan Gerth and Aaron Doyle, in a time of 1:52.11.
"I don't think there was a best event for me," Schafer noted. "All of them were solid and if I had to pick one it'd be the 200 IM, that was close to my PR [personal record, 2:12.78] from districts and I'm pretty happy about that and dropped the most time in that."
Davenport West won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:45.08, less than a second ahead of Muscatine in the runner-up position. Kameron Morgan also claimed the 50 freestyle for the Falcons in 25.16.
In all, Muscatine is without seniors Collin Campbell, Justice Cory, Jimmy Wood, Peter Hutton and sophomore Brady Trego due to shoulder injuries.
The injuries opened the door for a lot of first-year swimmers and young kids, Anderson said.
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And, as is usually the case in some MAC dual meets, Anderson configured the meets to give his swimmers young and old the best challenge he could offer on Thursday.
"They had some good swims in a high-pressure, varsity situation," Anderson said. "You hope that lights a fire under them, gets them to thinking that they can do this and be a quality athlete."
Freshman Wade Whiteside improved his time in the 500 freestyle with a win in 5:41.51 as well as shaving seconds off his time in the 200 freestyle with a win in 2:09.17. Gerth, a senior, was the other individual victor with a 55.50 winning time in the 100 freestyle.
Other underclassmen, including Landon Cavazos, Eddie Treiber and Doyle, saw multiple events of varsity action on Thursday.
Hilbrant sees his teammates getting the hang of things with each passing meet.
"I think we had a rocky start to the season with team chemistry," Hilbrant said. "Now we've all started clicking together and we're a much better unit because of it."
The Muskies lost to Iowa City West 106-54 on Tuesday, but Schafer saw Thursday as a bounce back in the right direction.
"It was a good thing to get a MAC victory after coming out of that hard loss. ... We did very well for having a few guys injured and we're hoping to have them back soon," Schafer said. "I'm just hoping to improve my times and help my team improve anyway I can so we can have kids possibly go to state."