Josh Hill and Bret Determan had just finished a post-meet meal when they heard the news. Their times were good enough.

Hill and Determan qualified for the Iowa high school state swimming meet with their times Saturday at the district meet at Muscatine High School.

“I was like biting my nails waiting for the times to go up,” Hill, a Clinton High sophomore, said.

“Everyone on the team was looking every five minutes (for the qualifying times to be posted on the Iowa High School Athletic Association website),” Determan, a senior for the River Kings, said. “We were at Buffalo Wild Wings in Davenport and kept looking it up the whole time. We had just left when Trevor Kao looked it up and told me and Josh we had made it.

“My heart dropped. The waiting game was over, and I made my goals.”

Determan earned a trip to next Saturday’s state meet in Marshalltown in the 100-yard butterfly with a fifth-place finish in 55.87 seconds, a personal record. His qualifying time was listed 22nd on the list of unofficial state qualifiers. Each event has 24 qualifiers based on times from the six district meets across the state.

“After you swim, you only can go off last year’s times,” Determan said about wondering if the time would be good enough to advance. “I kind of kept looking that 56 (seconds) qualified, so I was pretty confident. But, you never know.”

The wait for the district times to get posted can be agonizing.

“I definitely overthank a lot: If I didn’t (qualify), what could I have done different? If I did, what do I do next week? It messes with you a lot,” Determan said. “It’s very emotional.”

But very rewarding when the result brings good news.

“I’m in awe,” Hill said. “I’m really excited to be able to compete in an individual event, and I’m sure Bret Determan is, too.”

Determan confirmed that.

“It’s been my goal for the past four years,” he said. “I’m pretty excited.”

Both of them watched several teammates advance last year and place eighth as a team, Clinton’s best finish in years. Now, it was their turn to carry the torch for Clinton High.

Hill finished second behind Pleasant Valley’s Brian Burke in the 200 freestyle and was one of four swimmers from the district to qualify for state.

“I had some pretty good competition,” Hill said. “I pushed myself more than I usually do. Being pushed, I think, is a big part of doing good. It’s hard to PR against people who aren’t pushing you. I actually like a tough district.”

Hill’s time (1:49.09) ranked 17th among the statewide districts. Burke won in 1:48.05.

Hill almost qualified in the 500 freestyle and 200 freestyle relay — along with Kao, Nate Harden and Determan. The River Kings’ times in both events were less than a second off the qualifying standard.

“I saw the cut time for the 500 (5:04.05) and was like, ‘Aw, I shouldn’t have taken that extra stroke or shouldn’t have glided into the wall,” said Hill, who placed fifth in the race in 5:04.98. “On turns in the 500, I have trouble gliding into the wall and finishing. It wasn’t as good as I planned it.”

The Clinton foursome placed fourth in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:33.22. The slowest qualifying time was 1:32.39.

“I think we were all hoping to go in that, but it was toward the end of the meet and we were kind of worn out because we gave it our all,” Hill said.

“When it’s that close, you’ve just got to look at the positives — like Nate Harden PRed by a lot,” Determan said.

Kao also came close in the 100 backstroke. He placed seventh behind six state qualifiers, and his time (57.64 seconds) was 1.23 seconds off a top-24 time.

As a team, Clinton placed fourth in the eight-team district with 100 points. Defending state champion Muscatine won the title with 309 points, taking first in eight of the 11 events. The Muskies’ day included a 1-2-3 finish in the 200 individual medley with the top three qualifying times in the state and recording state-leading times in four events.


Team standings

1. Muscatine 309; 2. Bettendorf 267; 3. Pleasant Valley 228; 4. Clinton 100; 5. Davenport Central 95; 6. Davenport North 93; 7. Burlington 83; 8. Davenport West 47.

(Unofficial state qualifiers, fastest/slowest state qualifying times in parentheses, other Clinton results)

200-yard medley relay (1:36.15/1:44.77) — 1. Muscatine (Alex Walton, Michael Sovers, Travis Greenwald, Matt Krueger) 1:36.15; 2. Bettendorf 1:39.20; 3. Pleasant Valley 1:44.77. No Clinton entry.

200 freestyle (1:43.13/1:50.09) — 1. Brian Burke (PV) 1:48.05; 2. Josh Hill (Cli) 1:49.09; 3. Nate Halstead (Mus) 1:49.65; 4. Luke Ketelaar (Bet) 1:50.09; 14. Carson Peck (Cli) 2:09.40.

200 individual medley (1:53.13/2:06.15) — 1. Walton (Mus) 1:53.13; 2. Greenwald (Mus) 1:54.68; 3. Haden Calegan (Mus) 1:55.60; 4. Nick Staver (PV) 1:58.74; 5. Aaron Scheerer (Bet) 2:00.70. 6. Cole Bunn (Bet) 2:00.83; 7. Brennan Bladel (DN) 2:03.19. No Clinton entry.

50 freestyle (21.10/22.66) — 1. Drake Kulick (Mus) 22.08; 2. Krueger (Mus) 22.14; 3. Jordan Stevens (Bur) 22.22; 4. James Entwistle (Bet) 22.46; 8. Nate Harden (Cli) 23.34; 9. Trevor Kao (Cli) 23.43.

100 butterfly (50.99/55.99) — 1. Scheerer (Bet) 53.03; 2. Stevens (Bur) 54.01; 3. Matt Remy (PV) 54.16; 4. Bunn (Bet) 55.33; 5. Bret Determan (Cli) 55.87; 14. Ian Howes (Cli) 1:05.20.

100 freestyle (46.56/50.01) — 1. Calegan (Mus) 46.81; 2. Burke (PV) 48.98; 9. Harden (Cli) 52.90; 17. Koner Frandsen (Cli) 57.35.

500 freestyle (4:41.96/5:04.05) — 1. Nick Staver (PV) 4:49.12; 2. John Stecker (PV) 4:54.84; 3. Stephen Hansen (Bet) 5:01.05; 5. Hill (Cli) 5:04.98; 15. Peck (Cli) 6:08.49.

200 freestyle relay (1:25.76/1:32.39) — 1. Muscatine (Greenwald, Kulick, Krueger, Calegan) 1:25.76; 2. Bettendorf 1:30.82; 3. Pleasant Valley 1:31.69; 4. Clinton (Kao, Harden, Determan, Hill) 1:33.22.

100 backstroke (51.80/56.41) — 1. Walton (Mus) 51.80; 2. Remy (PV) 55.07; 3. Halstead (Mus) 55.28; 4. Eure (DC) 55.38; 5. Entwistle (Bet) 55.72; 6. Bladel (DN) 56.27; 7. Kao (Cli) 57.64; 10. Determan (Cli) 59.68; 16. Howes (Cli) 1:07.82.

100 breaststroke (56.74/1:02.98*) — 1. Greenwald (Mus) 56.74; 2. Sovers (Mus) 1:00.38; 3. Tanner Nelson (Bet) 1:01.43; 15. Frandsen (Cli) 1:14.82.

400 freestyle relay (3:12.63/3:24.34) — 1. Muscatine (Calegan, Halstead, Krueger, Walton) 3:13.40; 2. Bettendorf 3:19.55; 3. Pleasant Valley 3:22.78; 4. Clinton (Hill, Harden, Determan, Kao) 3:28.44.

* — Robert Chaney of Pleasant Valley swam the qualifying mark of 1:02.98 in the 100 breaststroke, but Josh Hatten of Indianola received the final spot based on criteria, with the second tiebreaker being faster seed time.

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