Men’s swimming looks towards season

There seems to be no off-season for men’s swimming coach Dick Marcussen. The Monday after a weekend of State swimming, he jumped right back in to coaching the boys, and he noted that there is a difference between coaching the boys and coaching the girls.

“Well I think first of all, women pick up the technical stuff a lot faster, because the guys are so stubborn. The girls fire up a lot more before meets. They get the team going.”

Marcussen also noted, “With the men, their employment comes a little slower. The guys grow and have other problems to work with. I think both the men’s and women’s teams are very hard working.” Marcussen said he thinks the boys have a very good chance to win state champs. “They’ve gotta work together and not let anyone slack off. If they don’t work as a team, we can’t do this.”

Ames, Dubuque Senior and Iowa City are Marcussen’s picks to be the biggest rivals of the season. The Tiger team consists of four or five more athletes than last year’s numbers, and the letterwinners are sophomore Spencer Schoentag, juniors Jon Baker, Taylor Burks, Josh Sund, Austin Abbas and senior Garrett Moses.

Neither Baker, Burks, nor Moses attend Cedar Falls High School. Baker and Burks go to Waverly-Schell Rock and Moses goes to Dike-New Hartford. Both of those towns don’t have swim teams, so they’re allowed to swim for Cedar Falls.

Assistant Coach Jerry Backstrom said, “I’d say the strength is just the versitility of all the guys we’ve got. Like Abbas and Moses could both go in four different events each, along with some of the freshmen.”

He said that this will help out immensely due to the team losing a lot of key, senior athletes from last year’s graduation.

There are many newcomers participating this winter.  Coach Backstrom said, “We’ve got 10 freshmen that are new to the program. Just to be in a high school swim team environment is new.” He also said they’ll work hard and train the boys. Many of them may surprise the coaches at the first meets.

Tuesday night, Dec.1, the boys swam against Waterloo West and Decorah. Overall, Marcussen was pleased with the outcome.

“We had a lot of great times, and kids dropping five or 10 seconds compared to what their time-trials were. They did a pretty good job, and they swam as a team. They swam with a good attitude and had a lot of confidence out there, and that’s what I look for early in the season,”

Marcussen said with all the incoming freshmen, the coaches didn’t really know what to expect, but once they got in the water, the boys got rolling. Senior Garrett Moses has a goal of breaking the 100 Butterfly pool record and came extremely close.

“The kids showed a lot of speed and showed that they were listening from the very beginning. The guys look like completely different swimmers when they get in that water.”

Saturday, Dec. 5, was the Ames Invitational. Cedar Falls had its biggest competition with Mason City, Ames, and Cedar Rapids Washington. Out of eight teams, Cedar Falls placed second, Iowa City in third, and Ames taking the win.

Tonight, the boys go head to head with Waterloo East, which Marcussen expects will be a sweep. The team only has about 18 swimmers, which “is an upgrade compared to the two or three the girls had,” Marcussen joked.

He said he plans to mix the boys up a little for the meet, test their limits, see what their boundaries are and what they could potentially swim that they aren’t used to.

Saturday, Dec. 12, is the Marcussen Invitational, which is not only one of the biggest home meets of the season but one of the biggest meets in general. The girls had a lot of competition at this meet in the Fall, but this isn’t going to be as competitive for the guys, and coach is expecting this to be an easy win, with only five teams competing.

After that is Dubuque Senior, followed by the Iowa City Invite. “(Dubuque Senior) was state champions last year, so it will be a challenge. Hopefully, nobody will be sick, and we’ll have everyone there swimming,” Marcussen said.

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