Marshalltown High School boys' swim coach Mike Loupee saw a lot more than what the final score indicated.
Underneath the surface of Thursday's 110-54 loss at the hands of West Des Moines Valley, the Bobcats logged 16 lifetime-best times and 34 season bests despite falling to 0-3 in dual meets.
The visiting Tigers took nine of 11 event victories, including all three relays, in the clash between former CIML Iowa Conference foes.
T-R PHOTO BY TYLER STRAND
Marshalltown High School senior John Mahlstede swims the 500-yard freestyle during Thursday’s home opener against West Des Moines Valley. Mahlstede came in fourth in the event in a time of 5 minutes, 33.99 seconds.
"They've got a strong squad and they swim well, they're always good," shrugged Loupee. "Valley is one of those perennially strong programs.
"That being said, I think this was the strongest and the most focused we've swam through an entire meet so far this season."
That alone is enough to keep Loupee excited about the end of the season. The Bobcats are currently halfway through a stretch of five meets in a 10-day stretch, regardless of whether or not Thursday's home opener was aesthetically pleasing scoreboard-wise.
Valley 110, Marshalltown 54
(Champion plus MHS placewinners)
200 MEDLEY RELAY - 1. VAL 1:46.47, 2. MHS (Mahlstede, Dulaney, Van Staalduine, Landherr) 1:46.84.
200 FREESTYLE - 1. Sam Carter, MHS, 1:53.54; 5. Hunter Barnard, MHS, 2:09.99.
200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY - 1. Jaden VanDike, VAL, 2:10.78; 3. Raymond Dulaney, MHS, 2:17.89; 5. Conner Beurskens, MHS, 2:40.06.
50 FREESTYLE - 1. Sam Gorham, VAL, 22.98; 2. Paul Landherr, MHS, 23.96; 5. Daniel Lothe, MHS, 25.58.
100 BUTTERFLY - 1. VanDike, VAL, 59.78; 3. Blair Van Staalduine, MHS, 1:03.39; 4. Cole Podhajsky, MHS, 1:09.15; 5. Colton Fuller, MHS, 1:18.03.
100 FREESTYLE - 1. Carl Skoog, VAL, 52.72; 3. Landherr, MHS, 53.33; 5. Beurskens, MHS, 59.66.
500 FREESTYLE - 1. Alex Bodin, VAL, 5:04.46; 2. Carter, MHS, 5:10.86; 4. Mahlstede, MHS, 5:33.99.
200 FREESTYLE RELAY - 1. VAL 1:36.08; 2. MHS (Van Staalduine, Barnard, Lothe, Carter) 1:37.91.
100 BACKSTROKE - 1. Gorham, VAL, 56.85; 2. John Mahlstede, MHS, 1:00.45; 4. Van Staalduine, MHS, 1:04.47; 5. Lothe, MHS, 1:07.64.
100 BREASTSTROKE - 1. Dulaney, MHS, 1:06.39; 5. Konner Kacmarynski, MHS, 1:21.11.
400 FREESTYLE RELAY - 1. VAL 3:35.94; 2. MHS (Landherr, Mahlstede, Carter, Dulaney) 3:36.35.
"I don't think the score is indicative of the performance we had," Loupee said. "The guys are continuing to get strong and continuing to get faster and our team is rounding out. The new guys are learning what high school swimming is all about."
Sam Carter and Raymond Dulaney accounted for Marshalltown's two event wins on the night. Carter claimed first in the 200-yard freestyle in a time of 1 minute, 53.54 seconds, while Dulaney won the 100 breaststroke in 1:06.39.
Carter also came in second in the 500 freestyle, while Dulaney was third in the 200 individual medley.
"Sam Carter had three lifetime bests and a season best tonight," Loupee said. "That was a great performance out of Sam. And Ray Dulaney swam a very solid 100 breaststroke, and the medley relay swam its season best."
The Bobcat medley relay was only 37 hundredths back of Valley's winning squad.
John Mahlstede scored a runner-up finish in the 100 backstroke and was also on a pair of second-place relays.
Paul Landherr had lifetime bests in the the 50 free (second place, 23:96), the 100 free (third, 53.33) and in his 50 free leg of the medley relay.
"Competing with a strong team is going to make you stronger and our guys competed very well," said Loupee. "Paul Landherr, for a second-year swimmer, those kinds of times at this point of the season is a testament to his hard work.
"The coaching staff is very pleased with the hard work these guys are putting in. The attitude is positive, and the work ethic is one of the best I've had as a coach. It's a bunch of really good, hard-working kids and as a coaching staff we can't ask for anything more than that."
Marshalltown's daunting schedule picks up with Saturday's Bobcat Invitational. Valley returns to join Newton and Cedar Rapids Kennedy for the two-man relay formatted meet. MHS hosts Grinnell on Monday to close out its busiest stretch of the season.
"The coaching staff is really pleased with how the guys are holding up," added Loupee. "The attitude remains positive and the work ethic is very good, and that emphasizes all the lifetime bests and personal bests."