Disappointment at state meet for swimmers

written by Joel Schorg

The Bettendorf Swim Team finished a disappointing fourth in the state swim meet in Iowa City.

"It was disappointing because we know we got the short end of the stick," said Ryan McAnally.

With an unsatisfying showing at the state tournament, the Bettendorf boy swimmers wrap up what would have been a storybook perfect season of incredible success. At state, the boys finished fourth with 153 points, behind West Des Moines Dowling (1st), Ames (2nd) and West Des Moines Valley (3rd).

Adam Lehenbauer was the only champion after he lived up to his first place seed in the 500 freestyle.

Nate Billups contributed a second place finish in the 100 butterfly and a fourth place finish in the 100 back stroke.

Scott Sampson placed third in the 500 freestyle and fourth in the 200 freestyle.

The Bulldogs also placed third in the 400 freestyle relay and fourth in the 200 freestyle relay.

The tournament started rough with some serious confusion caused by faulty timing equipment in the 50 yard freestyle.

Grant Parrish finished sixth in the event in which he was seeded first and was the returning state champion. Parrish said he heard two separate sounds and didn't begin swimming until a split second after all the other swimmers.

"The timing system wasn't working. The sound wasn't matching up with the time," said Boys Swimming Coach Mike Ahrens.

"Later on, it was getting sporadic. It totally messed up the 50. That's just a down and back race, if you start late, you don't have time to come back."

Despite finishing on a bad note, the boys had a season that would have been hailed as very successful by most standards. At Bettendorf, it's just another brick in the wall of the program's recent success.

For the past seven years, the boys' swimming team hasn't lost a dual meet to any other school in the MAC. For the past four years, they haven't lost a dual meet to anyone. In the past four years, fourth place is the worst the team has place at state.

"We're happy with the season as a whole. We went undefeated again," said Ahrens. "This senior group never lost a meet. We qualified three more people for state than last year."

Next year, the returning swimmers will have a lot of rebuilding to do if they are to continue the success.

State qualifiers Lehenbauer, Andrew "the missile" Sissel, and Jason Meinhardt are expected to be the team's leaders.

"It is going to be a rebuilding year," said Ahrens. "We got some good young guys who I think will make a difference. It would be nice to have more boys to come out for swimming."

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