WATERLOO - The times relative to seasons past seemed solid enough to send a substantial Marshalltown High School contingent to next Saturday's Iowa Boys State Swimming Meet.
But the times as compared to this season's top performances were only low enough to advance three Bobcat entries to the Marshalltown Community Y.
The MHS boys' swimming team collected fifth place out of eight teams at Saturday's district meet hosted by Waterloo West, yet the result was only three top-24 performances when grouped with the other five districts across the state.
The Bobcats got their meet-opening 200-yard medley relay through, while individual performances from sophomore Blair Van Staalduine and junior Sam Carter stood up to the rest of Iowa's preps for a spot in the state meet next week.
"The kids did everything we asked for, we had a great season, we had a great conference meet and a great district meet," said MHS coach Mike Loupee, "and it kind of hurts because we only got three events in.
"We achieved and improved tremendously (this season), but we can't control what other teams do - and other teams had some great swims."
Team Standings - 1. Dubuque Senior 354, 2. Waterloo West 201, 3. Dubuque Hempstead 195, 4. Cedar Falls 188, 5. Marshalltown 147, 6. Decorah 69, 7. Waterloo East 40, 8. Vinton-Shellsburg 24.
Individual Placings (champion plus MHS top 6)
200 MEDLEY RELAY-1. CF (Clements, Sund, Plumber, Michels), 1:39.50; 3. Marshalltown (Mahstede, Dulaney, Van Staalduine, Landherr), 1:41.56.
200 FREESTYLE-1. Alec Rutkowski, DBH, 1:45.86; 4. Sam Carter, MHS, 1:51.68.
200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY-1. Jake Sund, CF, 1:59.84.
50 FREESTYLE-1. Josh Gill, DBS, 21.19; 3. Van Staalduine, MHS, 22.42.
100 BUTTERFLY-1. Ben Martin, DBS, 55.54.
100 FREESTYLE-1. Rutkowski, DBH, 48.31.
500 FREESTYLE-1. Mitch Schroeder, DBS, 4:57.88; 4. Carter, MHS, 5:03.20.
200 FREESTYLE RELAY-1. DBS (Gill, Duster, Yuan, Daughters), 1:27.08; 4. MHS (Landherr, Van Staalduine, Dulaney, Carter), 1:32.55.
100 BACKSTROKE-1. Conner Clements, CF, 54.57; 6. John Mahlstede, MHS, 57.92.
100 BREASTSTROKE-1. Gill, DBS, 59.69; 6. Raymond Dulaney, MHS, 1:03.07.
400 FREESTYLE RELAY-1. DBS (Duster, Schroeder, Colin, Gill), 3:14.32; 4. MHS (Landherr, Van Staalduine, Mahstede, Carter), 3:25.62.
Marshalltown's medley relay consists of three seniors - John Mahlstede, Raymond Dulaney and Paul Landherr. Joined by Van Staalduine, the Bobcats clocked in a third-place time of 1 minute, 41.56 seconds to finish in a season-best clocking by more than 4 seconds.
"That was a great start to the meet," said Loupee. "We finished with 24 lifetime bests and three season bests out of 36 swims. The kids did everything we asked of them, they had a great season."
Van Staalduine also placed third at Saturday's district meet, clocking 22.42 to qualify seeded 20th for the state meet.
MHS junior Sam Carter took fourth in the 500 freestyle with his new lifetime best 5:03.20. And despite his 6-second improvement, he's seeded 23rd for state.
The 200 medley relay foursome has the Bobcats' top seed for state, standing 14th.
Marshalltown had plenty of improved times to show for their season-long efforts, but the short stack of state meet entries left the Bobcats wanting on Saturday night.
Dulaney logged lifetime-best times in the 200 individual medley (2:10.92) and the 100 breaststroke (1:03.07), the latter of which was just nine-hundredths of a second shy of the state-qualifying cutoff.
The 400 freestyle relay dropped 6 seconds in placing fourth with a 3:25.62, but the foursome of Paul Landherr, Van Staalduine, Mahlstede and Carter could not match the 24th-best time of 3:24.34.
Next Saturday's state meet at the Community Y begins at 12:30 p.m.