Bobcats blow out Fort Dodge in league dual

On paper, it had the makings of a dual that would go down to the wire.

A mere four points separated Marshalltown and Fort Dodge in the power rankings.

In reality, the Bobcats shredded that possibility.

Winning eight of 11 events and tying for first in another, the Marshalltown boys swim team cruised for a convincing 99.5-70.5 dual victory over the Dodgers at home Thursday.

Ranked 24th in the power rankings – one spot behind the Dodgers – with 826 points, the Bobcats avenged last season’s 93-77 loss to Fort Dodge (830) with 34 season-best performances and 16 lifetime bests to catch even Marshalltown coach Mike Loupee off guard with the commanding performance.

“We didn’t expect the meet to be this far out of hand,” said Loupee.

Though the Dodgers weren’t quite at full strength, Loupee said his team’s performance still would have held up against a full Fort Dodge squad.

“The meet might have been a little bit closer, but we swam well enough to win the meet,” said Loupee, who saw a higher level of intensity from his team Thursday.

“We talked about being excited and coming out fired up, which is something we didn’t do against Newton and it cost us the meet. The guys came out and were ready to go.”

Paul Landherr one was of many that was ready to go for the Bobcats after a two and half week layoff from competition.

Landherr turned in three lifetime bests and swept the 50- and 100-yard freestyle while also contributing to the winning 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay. The senior won the 50 freestyle in 23.48 seconds before tying for first in the 100 freestyle with Fort Dodge’s Rob Leigh in 52.46.

Landherr anchored the 200 medley relay joining John Mahlstede, Raymond Dulaney and Blair Van Staalduine for a time of 1:45.72. Landherr led off the 400 freestyle relay teaming with Mahlstede, Van Staalduine and Sam Carter to claim an easy win in 3:32.01 – more than 12 seconds ahead of runner-up Fort Dodge (3:44.15).

Carter took the top spot in the 200 freestyle (1:54.66) and 500 freestyle (5:12.45), while Dulaney claimed first in the 200 individual (2:14.05) and 100 breaststroke (1:07.70). Mahlstede captured Marshalltown’s other victory in the 100 backstroke (59.19).

Outside of the event victories, Loupee also pointed to the crucial second, third and fourth place finishes from his squad and praised the improvements of Ryan Hass, Connor Beurskens and Konner Kacmarynski.

“We talked about every race being a new opportunity for us to score points and those second and third and fourth place points we needed to get more of tonight. The guys responded very well.”

While the Bobcats had a break from competition, their winter slate of practices was anything but.

“We had quite a grind over the break,” said Loupee, whose squad put in eight hard practices totaling between 50,000 to 60,000 yards in the pool.

“It’s encouraging for the guys to see that the hard work is paying off and it shows up right away with these times.”

The JV squad completed the sweep for Marshalltown with a 105-37 victory.

“We knew this was a meet that we had an opportunity to win,” said Loupee.

“The guys were excited about getting in the water and getting after it tonight. Hopefully we can keep getting after it as we push toward the championship season.”

The Bobcats host Southeast Polk in a make-up dual Saturday at 10 a.m.

While Marshalltown, sits ahead of the Rams (34th, 564) in the power rankings, they know full well that numbers don’t tell the whole story.

“Southeast Polk has two or three really good individuals and it’s going to come down to that chess match of where you put your guys,” said Loupee.

“Hopefully we can find that right combination that is favorable for us.”