Judd Anderson took his first job as a 22-year-old fresh out of college when he became Muscatine’s boys’ swimming coach.
He’s still at it half a century later.
Anderson celebrated 50 years with the Muskies at Thursday’s dual meet against Davenport North. The victory gave him a 391-174-5 record at the helm.
He arrived at the school in 1963 when a college swimming teammate from Muscatine told him he should apply for a teaching job.
There was one catch. He had to coach the boys’ swim team.
“I didn’t plan on doing that,” Anderson said.
He decided to take the job. He’s 72 now and still teaching teenagers.
Anderson is working toward another state meet, which will be held Feb. 15 in Marshalltown.
He won his first state boys’ title in his 47th year of coaching. Muscatine followed that with two more championships. He ranks second among the state’s active coaches with three titles; Dowling Catholic’s Mark Crouch has four.
Muscatine swimmers can tell you the first time they met Anderson.
Alex Walton, a junior who won the backstroke state title last year, said Anderson approached him during a youth meet.
“You better keep swimming,” Anderson told him.
Walton, who attends Wilton High School, was sold on the coach.
“From that day on, I was doing it for Judd,” Walton said.
Senior Michael Sovers, who was a part of all three title teams, has a similar story. Anderson spotted his talent when Sovers was an eighth grader and asked him if he was going to swim at Muscatine.
“He sought me out and knew who I was,” Sovers said. “I like swimming more for Judd than any other coach I’ve swam for.”
Anderson, who taught social studies for 33 years before retiring, has led the boys’ team to 13 Mississippi Athletic Conference titles and 17 second-place finishes.
He also has coached the girls’ team for 44 years, winning state championships in 1982 and 1985.
Anderson doesn’t recall missing a single meet since the 1963-64 season. He loves the way his athletes are able to compete against the clock and their personal best times.
“It gets in your blood watching kids work hard,” Anderson said. “You get dedicated to success. You’re improving, even if you’re improving just a little.”
Anderson has helped make a name for the program, especially after his team’s three straight state crowns.
“Whenever I’m out in public and I’m wearing something that says, ‘Muscatine swimming,’ people ask if I was part of that,” Walton said. “They just pat me on the back. People take a lot of pride in the Muskies.”
Clear the mats: Sectional wrestling meets are Saturday in classes 2-A and 1-A. There are 16 1-A sectionals and 12 2-A meets. Qualifiers advance to district meets in all classes on Feb. 15.
Making a splash: Boys’ district swimming meets are scheduled for Saturday. The six sites are Cedar Falls, Clinton, Fort Dodge, Iowa City High, Johnston and Southeast Polk.
Freshman success: Raquel Dickerson is one of the top freshmen scorers in the state. She’s averaging 16 points per game and has made nearly 50 percent of her 3-point tries.
Top girls’ bowlers, by game average:
Rebecca Broermann, Mason City: 221.8
Rylee Blood, Cedar Rapids Prairie: 216.6
Jordan Newman, Waterloo West: 208.8
Jessica Pelock, Southeast Polk: 207.7
Bailey Palmer, Ottumwa: 205.9
“Recruiting has got to be one of the most stressful things I’ve eve done, but I know where I’m going… With that being said, I have committed to the University of Northern Iowa to play football. Better late than never. #panthernation”
— A.J. Allen, Waukee football player (pictured) went the online route to get the word out about his college plans Jan. 27. Allen, a Des Moines Register Elite all-state defensive lineman, made his choice known after a recent visit to the school.
“Omg mini heart attack. Saw a bug on my shirt. All good now I think it’s dead. idk still scared.”
— Hayli Beeson, Ottumwa basketball player on Jan. 27. Beeson survived her encounter with an insect.
“(Shoutout) to that Johnston rim for the friendly bounce. 😉 #3splease.”
— Ryan Yoder, Urbandale basketball player on Jan. 31. Yoder sank two 3-pointers in Urbandale’s 39-38 upset of the Dragons. Yoder, a senior, helped his team end Johnston’s 11-games winning streak.