NEWTON — As Sophomore swimmer Austin Bunker looked for a pool tool with the length to reach all the way to the top of the all-time swim records for Newton, his coach Dave Hook beamed with pride. After all, the team he threw together just took down the 200-meter medley relay record with a time of 1 minute, 55.42 seconds.
Sure, Newton had just finished third in its home invitational, but his real sense of pride came from what his team of young swimmers had just accomplished and the randomness of how it all came about.
“It feels really good to see that, and it was very unexpected,” Hook said. “I just kind of threw that relay together, and they had great swims and broke the record, so hats off to them.”
Talking to the team afterwards, each of the four swimmers were not all that surprised to see the 33-year old mark fall. Bunker, Isaak Webb, Jake Lensing and Landon King had each swam their individual splits fast enough so far in the year for it to go down, and that is just what happened.
“That feels really good, amazing,” Bunker said. “It’s really exciting because we were right behind the blocks and we were looking at the record like ‘we can get this today.’ When we go and we do it, it’s just so exciting.”
“Before the race, we were all just saying, ‘yeah lets try to break that’ and we looked up at the end and we broke it by two seconds,” Webb added. “We all knew that we could do it, it was just a matter of whether we could make it happen or not.”
Webb and Bunker swam the first two legs to get the Cardinals off to a great start. King bridged the gap to Lensing, who finished things off with a fist-pump and a series of congratulations after touching the tips of his finger to the wall.
“It was a 30-year old record, so it’s about time it came down,” Lensing said. “We saw the record beforehand, and we wanted to go out and take it down, so for that to happen was exciting. I was actually the one who did the math on all the splits told them all what to swim, and it was a great result.”
Indianola won the meet with 317 points, followed by Decorah with 313 and Newton took third with 290 points.
“I thought we did really well,” Hook said. “We put the strongest relays together possible. I knew Indianola was going to be right in there and Decorah was a lot better this year, so we had a good day.”
Bunker stood out as one of the swimmers for Newton, not only did he contribute to the 200 medley team, but he also won the 200 freestyle at 2:08.18, the 400 freestyle at 4:37.43 and anchored the first-place 200 freestyle relay team.
“I feel pretty good about my swims,” Bunker said. “I like the realys more, though. I like the pressure of the relays because you have three more people counting on you rather than just swimming by yourself.”
“Austin is lightyears ahead of last year,” Hook added. “As far as his swimming and his times, he is really starting out well and I think he will just continue to excel for us.”
Lensing and Webb also had particularly strong individual showings. Webb took the 200 individual medley in 2:22.10 and the 100 breaststroke in 1:11.68. Lensing won both the 50 and 100 freestyle events.
“I had strong races today,” Lensing said. “It’s a little hard because we swim in a meter pool here and I usually like to see my times in yards. So I had a good day, but I want to see my numbers when we hit a yard pool just to compare.”
Also finishing strong was King with a fourth-place finish in the 100 butterfly (1:13.80), Jacob Thomas won the 50 freestyle JV race at 32.16. Newton’s 400 freestyle relay team of Jeff Fitzgerald, Paul Dehart, Christian Laube and Lensing finished third at 4:16.42.
Newton’s JV team placed third with 103 points.