MHS boys swimming wins Bobcat Invite for first time in 12 years

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Marshalltown senior Caleb Summers, top, is supported by his teammates as he reels in Carson Beals during the 400-yard freestyle relay to end the Bobcat Invite at the MHS pool on Saturday afternoon. The Bobcats won their home invite for the first time in 12 years.

There’s been something special going on in the water at Marshalltown High School lately.

For the first time in 12 years, the Marshalltown boys swimming team won its home Bobcat Invite on Saturday, finishing with a score of 88 points to outpace Newton/Colfax-Mingo/Pella in second with 72.

MHS head coach Mike Loupee, who got just his fourth win in the Bobcat Invite in his 22 years at the helm, said this was a truly memorable day of racing for his squad.

“You always want to win your home invite. Through the years we’ve mostly had good, competitive teams, but we haven’t shied away from inviting strong teams,” Loupee said. “To win your home invite is always gratifying, and to do it winning eight of 11 events, to do it in the manner that we did, I told the guys after we finished that days like these are rare, so they need to make sure they enjoy it. They don’t have the historical perspective that their coaches do, but this is a day they should remember.”

As Loupee said, his Bobcats picked up their second invitational win of the season by taking first place in eight of the 11 events on the day.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Marshalltown freshman Bryce Edens competes in the 2x200-yard freestyle on Saturday in the Bobcat Invite. Edens and Nash Perisho combined to win the race.

After Marshalltown took second in the 200-yard medley relay in the first race of the day, the Bobcats won each of the next seven races and finished off the afternoon with a victory in the 400 freestyle relay.

Loupee said though it didn’t win, that 200 medley relay team of Jacob Eberle, Blaine Gunderson, Caleb Summers and Marcus Barker really got the meet started on the right foot by going for a season-low time of 1 minute, 49.46 seconds.

“Our 200 yard medley relay got under 1:50, Jacob Eberle had a lifetime best to lead us off in the backstroke, Caleb Summers had a great 50 fly,” Loupee said. “To come off and get second since we knew Newton had a pretty hot medley, that started us off well.”

The Bobcats won the next two relays with the 200 freestyle relay team of Ryne Downey, Summers, Nash Perisho and Carson Beals just beating their season-best time with a 1:33.31 and the 400 freestyle relay team of Downey, Bryce Edens, Perisho and Beals swimming a 3:26.88 to shave over a second off their season best.

“We had two relay legs in that 400 that were good, then we had two real good ones,” Loupee said. “Nash Perisho had a lifetime best and Carson went 50 again, so we have some good hopes for that 400 free relay.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Marshalltown junior Nash Perisho swims in the 2x200-yard freestyle on Saturday in the Bobcat Invite. Perisho and teammate Bryce Edens won the event in a combined time of 3 minutes, 47.62 seconds.

Downey and Beals came away with four medals in their home invite as they both combined to win the 2×50 freestyle with a time of 45.25 and the 2×100 freestyle with a 1:40.99.

Loupee said Downey, who is currently in the top 15 in the state in the 50 freestyle, had one of his better meets of the season so far.

“Ryne Downey was more solid in his 50s today, leading off the 2×50 free and the 200 free relay he was mid 22’s in both of those, and we are looking for that consistency in those short sprints,” Loupee said. “Still have a lot of work to do but Ryne took a good step forward today.”

As for Beals, who like Downey was an individual state qualifier from a season ago, Loupee said he has come along well after starting the year at a disadvantage from a conditioning perspective.

“Carson pulls four gold medals and is consistently getting faster and faster, and that’s exciting for Carson because coming into the season of our top performers he was probably the one that was in the least swimming shape,” Loupee said. “Conditioning for football is different than conditioning for swimming, so in these first five weeks Carson has been having to retrain his body and really work on his cardio and he has been doing a nice job of that.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Marshalltown senior Jacob Eberle swims the backstroke portion of the 200-yard medley relay on Saturday in the Bobcat Invite.

Freshman Bryce Edens continues to show his skills as well as he also came away with three medals. Edens and Perisho combined to win the 2×200 freestyle with a 3:47.62, Edens and Tyler Downey took first in the 2×500 freestyle with an 11:03.48, then he wrapped the day up swimming the second leg in the 400 freestyle relay.

“Bryce Edens had a great day, led off the 2×200 freestyle with a season-best time by a couple of seconds and then was very solid in making up a pretty lengthy deficit in the 2×500 to win that,” Loupee said. “Then he came back with a solid leg in the 400 free relay, and that was a second and a half season best. Good things out of him.”

Blaine Gunderson and Marcus Barker won the 2×200 individual medley with a 4:32.62, a race that Loupee told the two he was very impressed with, and Summers and Perisho were victorious in the 2×100 butterfly with a 1:58.33.

What sticks out most while watching this team is the genuine excitement they have for each other’s success. No matter how many races the individuals have swam, they are always cheering on both their teammates and the other teams, and Loupee said he’s never once had to question their attitude.

“This group enjoys swimming and they are a very good, very cohesive team,” he said. “They like each other, they compete against each other in practice and then they all support each other come meet time. As a coaching staff the only complaint is maybe on meet day they’re still just a little bit too nice, we are looking for that fire in the eye a little bit more, but they certainly showed some swagger today.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

Marshalltown is now 6-0 in duals on the season and it has wins in the Boone Toreador Relays and the Bobcat Invite under its belt. Loupee said he couldn’t ask for a better opening of the year.

“It’s a fantastic start, you can’t complain about anything even though it’s our job as coaches to find things to complain about,” he said. “There is certainly always room for improvement, we are a good, strong team, but we need to get in the water with other good, strong teams. We have swam and competed against teams that have good individuals but as a team we’ve had stronger depth.”

The Bobcats will get that chance to swim against a more competitive total team on Thursday when they travel to take on Southeast Polk in their final dual before the winter break. The Rams are currently 13th in the team power rankings, while Marshalltown comes in at 11th.

“Thursday night against Southeast Polk, that’s going to be a lot more competitive meet. Our conversations will start to be about how we aren’t going to back off our training but that is one that we need to be ready to go when we get off the bus,” Loupee said. “I know [Southeast Polk head coach Adam Schulte] and he’s probably got this date circled on his calendar. He’s going to have his team fired up and ready to go so we are going to have to have all hands on deck to see if we can go into Christmas break without a loss.”

The Rams and Bobcats will do battle in the pool at Southeast Polk on Thursday, starting at 5:30 p.m.

Bobcat Invite

At Marshalltown

Team Standings — 1. Marshalltown 88, 2. Newton/Colfax-Mingo/Pella 72, 3. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 44, 4. Atlantic 38, 5. Spencer 28, 6. Waterloo 25.

EVENT RESULTS

(Champion plus MHS place winners)

200 MEDLEY RELAY — 1. NCMP (Nedder, Briggs, Miller, Dydell) 1:48.47, 2. MHS (Eberle, Gunderson, Summers, Barker) 1:49.46.

2×200 FREESTYLE — 1. MHS (Edens, Perisho) 3:47.62.

2×200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY — 1. MHS (Gunderson, Barker) 4:32.62.

2×50 FREESTYLE — 1. MHS (R. Downey, Beals), 45.25.

2×100 BUTTERFLY — 1. MHS (Summers, Perisho) 1:58.33.

2×100 FREESTYLE — 1. MHS (R. Downey, Beals) 1:40.99.

2×500 FREESTYLE — 1. MHS (T. Downey, Edens) 11:03.48.

200 FREESTYLE RELAY — 1. MHS (R. Downey, Summers, Perisho, Beals) 1:33.31.

2×100 BACKSTROKE — 1. S (Tigges, Heiter) 1:52.00, 4. MHS (Eberle, Summers) 2:07.61.

2×100 BREASTSTROKE — 1. NCMP (Dydell, Briggs) 2:08.75, 2. MHS (Barker, Gunderson) 2:22.71.

400 FREESTYLE RELAY — 1. MHS (Downey, Edens, Perisho, Beals) 3:26.88.