IOWA CITY — Iowa City West freshmen Aidan Keen and Mark McGlaughlin are wise beyond their years.
Both were dominant at last Saturday’s district meet. Each won two individual events and were on a winning relay and one that just missed out of the top spot.
They looked on with little emotion as Cedar Rapids Washington celebrated winning a 50th consecutive district championship.
“This is their time (to celebrate),” Keen said. “Next week hopefully will be our time.”
That time is fast approaching. Keen and McGlaughlin are two of the top individual performers heading into Saturday’s state meet at the Marshalltown YMCA.
The 77th edition of the meet begins at 12:30 p.m.
Muscatine is the two-time defending state champion and is favored to make it three straight. Johnston, Dubuque Senior and Washington are expected to contend.
West should also be in that mix. Keen and McGlaughlin, along with sophomore Matt Anderson, have had standout times all season.
“This is a meet where you can score a lot of points if you have some great individual talent,” said West coach Rob Miecznikowski. “I’m not worried at all about (either freshman). They have been swimming in big meets all their lives.”
Keen is the top seed in the 200 and 500-yard freestyles. His 500 time at the district meet is nearly four seconds better than the next best time. Keen knows the times should be even better Saturday.
“We weren’t completely rested for this meet,” he said. “We rested some, but we will be even more rested for state and I think we can do even better.”
McGlaughlin is a soft-spoken athlete who lets his performance do most of the talking. He is seeded No. 2 in the 100 backstroke and No. 3 in 100 freestyle.
“I feel pretty good about where I’m at right now,” he said. “I’m not too worried (about the atmosphere Saturday). I will just be concentrating on swimming my races.”
Both freshmen, along with Anderson, make up three-fourths of the 200 medley and 400 free relays. Both are seeded second at state. The 400 free relay team was just touched out at the wall by Washington at districts.
“I really like the way our kids are swimming right now,” Miecznikowski said. “They get in the pool and they put in their work. They know what it is going to take to do well at state.”
Concludes Keen: “This is the meet we have been aiming for all season. We don’t have the depth other teams have. At state, depth isn’t as important so we are looking to score a lot of points.”
Washington has qualified in several events, headed up by the 400 free relay, which has the top seed coming in. Muscatine will be led by senior Travis Greenwald, who is looking for his third straight title in the 100 breaststroke. He has won five gold medals in his career.
Other defending champions in the meet include West Des Moines Dowling’s Jonathan Fiepke (50 and 100 freestyles) and Des Moines Roosevelt’s Max Ward (100 butterfly).