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MHS boys swimming not taking anything for granted

Marcus Barker and Aaron Seberger

Marshalltown boys’ swimming returned to practice Monday, possibly in a better place than most other swimming teams in the state, as well as the other teams at MHS.

The reason why? It partly has to do with the swimmers’ ability to participate in lap swims at the Marshalltown YMCA.

Head coach Mike Loupee said he sent them individual workouts to keep up on things and not lose as much time during the “at-home” period.

“We are much more fortunate than many of the swim programs that aren’t allowed to practice,” Loupee said. “So the boys have come in this week, and we’ve picked up on week four having expected that they did their job and most of them have. So I’m very pleased with where we’re at.”

This season — which begins Saturday at the Boone Invitational for the Bobcats — will be different. It’s a small team this year, and one that is replacing multiple state participants from the 2019-20 season like Carson Beals and Nash Perisho.

There are a few younger swimmers that Loupee mentioned as possibly making a strong impact during the year, including sophomores Dane Petty, Carter Hunt and JP Jones as swimmers who have been solid during practice. He said that running time trials on Tuesday in practice gave him and his assistant coaches a better understanding of where the team’s at.

Two freshmen from West Marshall, Brevon Gibson and Kaden Case, are promising young swimmers who come in as unknowns. Currently not able to practice with the team as West Marshall School District is online-only through the weekend, they’ll have to wait until next week to get a better look at the duo and see if they can contribute immediately.

One freshman who might make an instant impression is Cohen Thatcher. Loupee said Thatcher showed ability in time trials that could give him time in varsity events sooner than later.

But the leadership roles on the team will fall mainly in the hands of seniors Ethan Benscoter and Drake Stalzer, as well as returning state competitors Marcus Barker and Aaron Seberger.

Loupee called Benscoter a “good utility swimmer” because of his ability to learn and adapt to different strokes and lengths. The comfort level of Loupee to put Benscoter in any event if needed this season is set to provide him with a good baseline in areas of weakness, he said.

Barker and Seberger have been locked in since the state tournament in the spring, working year-round and looking to maximize their abilities and get back to the state tournament.

“They both have some pretty lofty goals this year and next year,” Loupee said. “We have talked about what it’s going to take to meet those goals.”

Another notable junior is Stephen Blom, who nearly made state in the 500-yard freestyle event last season. Loupee said he was excited to see what Blom can do after making progress in the offseason.

Most importantly, Loupee said he wanted the team to be thankful for their current opportunity to be practicing and having meets to look forward to, when nearly half of all swimming teams in the state can’t practice at the moment.

He’s grateful the team has the chance to swim this weekend.

“For them to be able to have a season, I tell them every day we walk in here we’re lucky to be here,” Loupee said. “We talk about the fact that we’re in the lucky half and we are thankful every day we get. Hoping that the meet on Saturday isn’t the only one we have.”

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