MUSCATINE — Judd Anderson saw an opportunity.
The Muscatine boys swimming coach inserted a handful of junior varsity swimmers into the varsity lineup Thursday evening against a strong, but not quite as deep, Bettendorf team.
While the youngsters earned valuable experience and some points, the Bulldogs won the dual 103-67 at the Carver Swim Center.
“Bettendorf obviously has some very good swimmers, but they aren’t as deep as typical great teams usually are,” Muscatine coach Judd Anderson said. “With that being the case, some of our younger guys were able to score some points at the varsity level and keep us at a fairly respectable score. Overall, I was pleased with all our kids' efforts.”
The Muskies did pull out a pair of event victories against the Bulldogs.
Isaac Heth, Daylon Shelangoski, Kyle Schoer and John Wieskamp won the 200 freestyle relay in 1 minute, 32.95 seconds by nearly half a second. Although the time was just a tad slower than the group's personal record, the effort shows great promise to the foursome.
Heth also won the 100 freestyle in 49.90.
“I’m not disappointed at all about being so close to the PR,” Wieskamp said. “We are all extremely tired from lifting and tough practices, so for the four of us to go out and be close when we are tired should mean we blow it out of the water during or after the taper.”
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Anderson, meanwhile, singled out a pair of JV performers for their efforts in the 500 freestyle: Nick Santaniello, who swam the race in 5 minutes, 52.31 seconds, and Lucas Burkamper, who swam the event in 5:56.22.
It was the first time in their career each had broke 6 minutes in the event.
“With their efforts tonight, they qualified to swim in the Burlington Invitational we are going to on Saturday,” Anderson said. “Once they realized that, they weren't the happiest campers as they asked me, ‘You mean I have to do that again?’ and I said, 'No, you get to do it faster next time.'”
Swimming faster is what the Muskies coach wants to see at this point of the season, with just a few weeks left until they taper before the district meet. Still in the throes of training, the Muskies beat expectations.
“Bettendorf is very, very good, and we knew that coming in,” Wieskamp said. “We were coming into this dual not really expecting a lot in terms of the score but would still try our best, and I think that’s what we did tonight.”
Wieskamp also helped the 400 freestyle relay to a second-place finish, while personally finishing third in the 200 medley and the 100 butterfly in a dual that showed the Muskie swimmers where they sit at this point in the season.
“This dual really opens our eyes in terms of what we are going to see in districts,” Wieskamp said. “Bettendorf is one the best teams in our conference and that we see during the season, so it’s kind of like a little preview of what is going to happen. If nothing else, it’s motivating for us because we know we have to get better if we want to beat the good swimmers.”