The Muscatine High School boys swim team won eight of the 11 events Thursday evening to take the Mississippi Athletic Conference dual meet against the Clinton River Kings by a 106-47 final.
The Muskie wins at Carver Pool inside Muscatine High School included first-place finishes in all three relay events. The final of those, the 400-yard freestyle relay, saw Muscatine take first and second.
It was a nice showing for the Muskies, even as the team was short-handed.
"The guys that swam tonight had some good time improvements," said Judd Anderson, who's in his 58th season as Muscatine head coach. "We had lots of kids out, probably 10 or so couldn't swim tonight for one reason or another ... Some of those were last-minute, we were switching things around up until 5 o'clock.
"But the ones that swam tonight were pretty competitive and we tried to put some of them in events they're not accustomed to being in. It was a good meet for that."
Sophomore Dakota Dahlke swam on all of those relay teams, taking the first leg for the winning 400 free team — with Colin Millage, Nate Larsen and Owen Booth — whose time time of 3 minutes, 42.81 seconds was plenty good to beat the competition, with the Muscatine 'B' squad of Joe McCleary, Ben Lear, Spencer Kilburn and Doug Custis producing a runner-up at 4:04.25.
"We planned on splitting them up more," Anderson said. "But with a couple guys being out sick, we had to re-organize or scratch relay teams."
Dahlke was one of the first to take to the pool, as he led off the first event of the night, the 200 medley relay, which also included Custis, Lear and Larsen.
Only the 50 freestyle, where Clinton's Paul Duray (25.30) edged Muscatine's Spencer Kilburn (25.56), produced a closer finish than the 200 medley relay. Muscatine's team finished with a time of 2:02.14, and the River Kings' Duray, Brian Unke, Caleb Dornbush and Merick Still posted a 2:03.31.
"It was a really good turnout for us," Kilburn said. "I think a lot of us had some doubts with how many people we were missing, that dropped our morale a little bit, but once the meet started, we picked it back up. It was a really good meet for us.
"We have Judd to thank for that, he makes sure we're on top of it at all times."
The senior Kilburn won the night's longest race, taking the 500 free (6:15.76) over teammate Landon Castle (7:44.98), who swam in the race for the first time.
"Landon swam that race for the first time and did so without a complaint," said Anderson. "Those are the kind of kids we like around here."
Muscatine's Caleb Carlson was another Muskie winner in taking the 100 freestyle. His time of 1:03.35 beat Clinton's runner-up in Elijah Lewerenz (1:05.25).
In his lone individual event, Dahlke would end up tops in the 100 butterfly, swimming under a minute with a time of 59.81 while the Muskies placed 1-2-3 in the race with Millage the runner-up (1:07.12) and Booth third (1:13.22).
Booth, Millage, Dahlke and Larsen formed the winner of the 200 free relay, with the top time of 1:40.25, beating the best of Clinton's times of 1:45.34.
Millage, a freshman, took the 200 freestyle race with a winning time of 1:56.63 in the first of two races where Muscatine would occupy each of the top three spots. Booth, a junior, took second in the event (2:04.73) and the freshman McCleary third (2:11.47).
"In terms of our team dynamic, we don't really think of anyone any differently, no matter if they're underclassmen or not," Kilburn said. "When we dive into the pool, we're all one team, and we're all doing our best to lower our times and put some points up on the board for our team."
The Muskies received another win in the 200 medley, where the junior Lear's time of 2:32.56 beat senior teammate Custis' 2:56.25.
Besides Duray's win in the 50 free, Clinton took a pair of events in the 100 backstroke and the 100 breaststroke. Dornbush's 1:03.33 was the best in the backstroke, beating Lear, a Muscatine junior, who finished with a 1:07.34.
In the breaststroke, the River Kings went 1-2, with Unke the top swimmer in the race with a time of 1:25.43 and Adam Deters second (1:24.49), in what was Clinton's most successful event of the evening, producing 10 team points.
The Muskies' next meet is scheduled for Saturday, where Muscatine is slated to be part of the Grayhound Invitational in Burlington, with a start time of 10 a.m.
"There are more meets to come," Kilburn said. "And with that, comes more times to bond with teammates and opportunities for better times."
Muscatine 106, Clinton 47
200 medley relay -- 1. Muscatine (Dakota Dahlke, Doug Custis, Ben Lear, Nate Larsen) 2:02.14, 2. Clinton 'A' 2:03.31, 3. Clinton 'B' 2:20.67, 4. Muscatine 'B' 2:26.43
200 freestyle -- 1. Colin Millage MUS 1:56.63, 2. Owen Booth MUS 2:04.73, 3. Joe McCleary MUS 2:11.47
200 medley -- 1. Ben Lear MUS 2:32.56, 2. Doug Custis MUS 2:56.25
50 freestyle -- 1. Paul Duray CLI 25.30, 2. Spencer Kilburn MUS 25.56, 3. Nate Larsen MUS 26.63, 4. Caleb Carlson MUS 27.94, 5. Elijah Lewerenz CLI 29.34, 6. Caden Todtz CLI 30.14
100 butterfly -- 1. Dakota Dahlke MUS 59.81, 2. Colin Millage MUS 1:07.12, 3. Owen Booth MUS 1:13.22, 4. Alejandro Cuatlacuatl CLI 1:16.59
100 freestyle -- 1. Caleb Carlson MUS 1:03.35, 2. Elijah Lewerenz CLI 1:05.25, 3. Ben Zimmer CLI 1:11.37, 4. Logan Wolf MUS 1:12.15, 5. Caden Todtz CLI 1:12.24, 6. Justin Guerink MUS 1:12.62
500 freestyle -- 1. Spencer Kilburn MUS 6:15.76, 2. Landon Castle MUS 7:44.98
200 freestyle relay -- 1. Muscatine 'A' (Owen Booth, Nate Larsen, Colin Millage, Dakota Dahlke) 1:40.25, 2. Clinton 'A' 1:45.34, 3. Muscatine 'B' 1:57.94, 4. Clinton 'B' 2:02.96
100 backstroke -- 1. Caleb Dornbush CLI 1:03.33, 2. Ben Lear MUS 1:07.34, 3. Joe McCleary MUS 1:15.79, 4. Merick Still CLI 1:21.91
100 breaststroke -- 1. Brian Unke CLI 1:15.43, 2. Adam Deters CLI 1:24.49, 3. Nathan Sharar MUS 1:25.37, 4. Logan Wolf MUS 1:26.37, 5. Dylan Metzger MUS 2:04.55
400 freestyle relay -- 1. Muscatine 'A' (Dakota Dahlke, Colin Millage, Nate Larsen, Owen Booth) 3:42.81, 2. Muscatine 'B' 4:04.25, 3. Clinton 'A' 4:09.14, 4. Clinton 'B' 5:01.50