Bobcats swim to split in home triangular

With Des Moines Hoover in town, Marshalltown swim coach Angie Nelson had the chance to change up her lineup and see where she can use certain athletes.

While she saw a lot of great things in the pool, the overall result was not exactly what was expected as Waukee joined the party in a triangular and the Bobcats came away with a split in two dual meets.

Marshalltown beat Hoover 133-50 and lost to Waukee 119.5 to 66.5. Waukee swept the night with a 145-38 victory over Hoover.

“I am not sure who messed up but there was a scheduling conflict,” Nelson said of the change to a triangular. “Hoover had scheduled both Waukee and us and neither one of us wanted to give up our meets. So we just decided to do it all here.

“It made for a good meet actually. The first half of the meet was good racing and the second half was good racing up until we exhausted ourselves and got too tired.”

The meet lasted three hours and the Bobcats also warmed up in the pool for two hours prior to the meet. That made it tough for everyone involved.

“It is hot in here,” Nelson said. “The meet kind of drug on. We are not used to being here for three hours plus two hours of warm-ups. It just makes for a pretty long day.”

The Bobcats’ lone win on the night came in the very first event of the meet. The Marshalltown 200 medley relay of senior Chloe Kuehner, sophomore Raechel Hannam, senior Therese Kuhlman and senior Leah Barkema hit the wall in 1 minute, 57.58 seconds. That time was more than three seconds faster than Waukee’s top team.

“We had some pretty good racing up until the end. We just got a little flat late,” said Nelson. “All in all, our splits really weren’t too bad. We swam pretty good.”

Kuehner also produced a runner-up finish in the 200 freestyle, Barkema was second in the 100 freestyle and Hayley Lillibridge took second in the 500 freestyle.

The other big event for the Bobcat swimmers was the 100 breaststroke as Hannam, Kuhlman and Carolina Freire-Vales went 2-3-4, respectively. Freire-Vales is a foreign exchange student from Spain.

The divers also scored a trifecta of points in the 1-meter diving competition. Waukee’s Jilian Loos won the event with 187.5 points, but Phoebe Lynk was second (170.45), and Kathleen McHenry (160.35) and Megan McHenry (139.10) were fourth and fifth, respectively.

The Warriors won the other two relays fairly easily. The Bobcats’ foursome of Kuehner, Lillibridge, Maggie Carnahan and Kuhlman were second in the 400 freestyle relay, while Hannam, Carnahan, DarC Vopava and Lillibridge took third in the 200 freestyle relay.

“We just generally don’t face Waukee in a dual. They have some nice horses over there,” Nelson said. “They have a defending state champion and she was in pretty top form tonight even though nobody was really pushing her too hard.”

The defending state champion is Maddie Gehrke, who won the 50 freestyle at the state meet last year. Gehrke claimed a victory in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke Thursday and also was a part of the winning 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams.

Kuehner usually swims in the 100 breaststroke and 200 IM but did the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly in the home triangular Thursday. Kuhlman competed in the breaststroke and IM but typically swims in the 100 butterfly.

Nelson also put Lillibridge in the IM instead of the 200 freestyle and Barkema competed in the 50 freestyle.

“It is absolutely no fun if you swim the same things every time out,” Nelson said. “We didn’t swim our regular events. It wouldn’t have mattered too much if it was just us against Hoover. We didn’t swim to beat Waukee though. It is virtually impossible by the numbers alone.

“I like to see what the girl’s versatility is. We don’t have the chance to do that in the CIML because all of the teams are so strong. We just can’t risk it against those schools so it was good to be able to change it up some tonight.”


Kuhlman finished third in the 200 IM, Carnahan was third in the 50 freestyle and Kuehner took fourth in the butterfly. Barkema also was third in the 100 backstroke and Melisa Fonseca finished fourth in the 200 freestyle. … Zoe Bussanmas won two individual events for Waukee, claiming first in the 500 freestyle and the 50 freestyle. She also was on the winning 400 freestyle relay team. … Barkema swam a bit under the weather and was pulled from the final relay because of the illness. “We have been having some trouble with the air in here,” Nelson said. “The heat and humidity does some nasty things to the pool. If you have any trouble breathing at all, it makes it tough. We have had some sinus things going around. We just haven’t been very healthy the past week.” … The Bobcats will next swim against Cedar Rapids Washington in the MHS pool Thursday. Action begins at 5:30 p.m.