MARSHALLTOWN — Cedar Rapids Washington swimmer Josh Hughes stepped on the blocks for the grueling 500-yard freestyle state championship race, determined to go as fast as he could from the start, even at his own peril.
Not only did the senior survive, he bested the competition by nearly two-and-a-half seconds in 4:41.46.
“That’s risky in the 500 because it’s a longer event,” said Hughes, who added a second in the 200 free as the Warriors finished sixth at the boys’ swimming state meet in the Marshalltown YMCA pool. “I was able to hold to that the whole time, and it just turned out to be a really good race.”
Hughes anchored the 400 freestyle relay to fourth, and relay member Jared Thorson also got a fourth in the 100 butterfly.
“It was a great culmination for a career, to see (Hughes) go out a winner like that,” Washington coach Chris Cruise said.“We were all very, very proud of him.”
Iowa City West finished seventh with 109 points.
“We got a really young squad, (and) for most of them it was their first state experience,” West Coach Rob Miecznikowski said.“I think we came with a bit of an expectation this year. The guys learned a lot about what to expect next year.”
West freshman Mark McGlaughlin finished right where he was seeded with a second in the 100 backstroke and third in the 100 freestyle.
“I’m really happy with it; the day went really well,” McGlaughlin said.
Fellow freshman Aidan Keen, top seed in the 200 and 500 free, finished fourth and third, respectively.
“He looked awfully nervous and hadn’t looked that way this whole season,” Miecznikowski said.
Muscatine won its third straight title with 180 points, winning four of 11 events, and swept the top three spots in the 200 IM. Dubuque Senior was second with 147 points, highlighted by a state-record 1:23.99 in the 200 freestyle relay.
Cedar Rapids Kennedy was 11th in the 200 medley relays with a school-record 1:39.90, and district athlete of the year Chandler Heisler was seventh in the 50 free in 21.75 seconds. The Cougars were 12th with 28 points.
“We held solid on a lot of our times,” Kennedy coach Shawn Thomsen said. “Two years ago, we didn’t have any state qualifiers. To finish with this group of seniors with a 12th-place finish overall, absolutely remarkable.”
Linn-Mar (13 points) and Iowa City High (11 points) finished 17th and 19th; Cedar Rapids Jefferson was 23rd with three points.