Next weekend brings the postseason for prep boys’ swimming,
There is a lot at stake for the City High and West High teams beginning Feb. 7, when districts lead off back-to-back weekends of the most heralded swimming of the season. Both City and West are in a district hosted at Linn-Mar. The state meet is Feb. 14 in Marshalltown.
Both schools will attempt to continue, or build upon, the results from last weekend’s Mississippi Valley Conference meet that West placed second in the Valley division in while City was fourth in the Mississippi division. The Trojans broke seven conference records and tied another.
“Thought we had a chance at six, and we broke seven,” West coach Rob Miecznikowski said.
And the theatrics won’t stop Feb. 7
City and West are likely in the toughest district in the state, matched up against Burlington, Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Cedar Rapids Washington, Linn-Mar and Muscatine. That will be a quick pool.
Cedar Rapids Washington has won 51 consecutive district titles, West is the defending state champion and there are a handful or more Division-I-to-be or likely Division-I swimmers that dot the score sheet. This year’s senior headliners committed to schools are Muscatine’s Alex Walton, who is headed to Missouri, and Minnesota-bound Calvin Greve of Linn-Mar.
Similar to 2014, the Trojans won’t necessarily be gearing for a district championship, but will focus on defending their state crown. The best 24 swimmers in each event — regardless of district assignment — advance to state.
“Our focus is going to be on the state meet and getting guys in position to score the most points possible and have their best performances at state,” Miecznikowski said. “We’ve been under a little bit of pressure from other coaches just kind of saying ‘hey, are you going to go after (Cedar Rapids Washington) this year?’ The reality is it would be really great to win that regional championship, but our focus is on the state championship.
“Wash has an amazing amount of depth this year and so does Linn-Mar. I think (Linn-Mar) actually has a better chance of beating Wash than we do in the meet format style.”
For the Little Hawks, Abe Eyman-Casey is at the top of the team leaderboard in five of eight individual events. Eyeman-Casey and Andrew Parr, who leads City High in two events, have the best chances to advance to state for coach Zane Hugo. Eric Thomas paces the field in one other event for City.
Hugo illustrated the strength of the district field when projecting where Eyman-Casey and Parr might finish.
“The goal right now is to rest them up for districts and have the best meet of the year,” Hugo said. “Let’s see how many guys we can qualify for state.
“With Abe and Andrew, in our district, they could get fifth or sixth in the 100 backstroke and then fifth or sixth at the state meet. It’s that competitive in our district. I’m telling them to just beat the guy next to them. As long as you’re getting your hand on the wall ahead of somebody, you’re putting yourself in a better position to be seeded higher at state.”
Reach Matt Cozzi at email@example.com or 319-887-5409, and follow him on Twitter at @matt_cozzi.