’Cats claim rollercoaster win

The Bobcats and Indians gave away points early, traded congratulatory cheers at the end, and waged a back-and-forth battle in the pool between.

Trailing by a point entering the final event, the Marshalltown boys’ swim team claimed a victory in the 400-yard freestyle relay to edge Indianola for an 85-84 victory at home Tuesday.

Blair Van Staalduine, Hunter Barnard, Sam Carter and Daniel Lothe tallied a time of 3 minutes, 34.78 seconds to cap the Bobcats’ rally in a seesaw affair affected by disqualifications on both sides.

“For a fair amount throughout the meet it was kind of like, ‘Who doesn’t want to win,'” said MHS coach Mike Loupee. “Both teams did each other favors with disqualifications. Fortunately we were able to persevere on that and after the disqualification in the (200) IM, it actually kind of was a lightning rod for the guys to get fired up.”

The Bobcats caught a break in the 200-medley relay when the Indians had a member leave the blocks early, though Indianola recouped the points when Marshalltown’s Sam Carter reached the blocks late for the start of the 200 individual medley.

Carter regrouped from the miscue with a pair of lifetime bests, winning the 100 butterfly in 57.12 before adding his top split in the 400 free relay.

“Sam came back strong and did what we expect of a senior returning captain,” said Loupee. “He was a leader of the team and did what we needed.”

Indianola claimed the first three events and led by 13 points following the 50 freestyle, which is where Marshalltown began to swing the tide. The Bobcats claimed five of the next six races and finished with six titles overall.

Van Staalduine captured first in the 50 freestyle (23.06) and 100 backstroke (1:01.07), while also contributing to the winning 200 freestyle relay – joining Jack Greene, Carter and Devin Carlon (1:36.94).

Barnard hit the wall first in the 100 freestyle (55.21) and also had lifetime best performances on his 50 free leadoff leg and in the 400 freestyle relay. Loupee also praised the effort of sophomore Lothe who had three lifetime bests including a runner-up finish in the 500 free (5:35.32), before anchoring the relay that put MHS on top.

“That’s a lot of pressure for a sophomore and (Daniel) responded with a lifetime best swim,” said Loupee of Lothe’s 400 freestyle relay leg.

Carter, Cole Podhajsky (1:02.93) and Colton Hanke (1:04.76) recorded a top-three sweep in the 100 butterfly to close the gap, before MHS took over the lead, 48-45, following the 100 freestyle. Marshalltown stretched its cushion to nine heading into the 100 breaststroke where a 1-2-3 tally by Indianola put them back in front 78-77, setting the stage for the winner-take-all finale.

“We told the boys at the end of the meet, ‘If they scored a point, they won the meet,'” said Loupee. “Because when you win by only one point, every one is gold.”

The Bobcats opened with a runner-up finish from Lothe, Konnor Kacmarynski, Podhajsky and Mark Landherr in the 200-medley relay (2:03.87), while Barnard followed suit in the 200 freestyle (2:00.73).

Marshalltown hits the road Thursday to face a very talented Valley squad that placed fifth at state last season. MHS returns home Saturday to host the Tigers, Cedar Rapids Kennedy and Newton in the Bobcat Relays starting at noon.

While MHS likely won’t be able to match the Tigers’ depth for a meet victory, Loupee said his team will have a great opportunity to improve its times by competing alongside Valley.

“They’re going to have fast guys in the lane next to them, so the message is going to be, ‘Stick your head on that guy’s hip and he’ll drag you to a season best time,'” said Loupee. “It will be a good opportunity to measure some events and see where we are.”


Indianola won the JV meet 70-46. The Indians are coached by former Bobcat Andrea Duncan, who swam for Linda Bloom at MHS from 2004-07.

“It’s always fun to come back here and swim in my home pool. It brings back good memories and it’s always fun to show the kids where I swam,” said Duncan.

The teams showed mutual respect for each other with cheers for one another following the meet and that respect extends to the coaches.

“(Andrea) is already doing a very strong job as a good young coach,” said Loupee. “You might think it would be tough for a young lady coaching high school boys, but her kids have a tremendous amount of respect for her and she commands her pool and the kids very well.”