CLINTON — The Clinton River Kings easily won a dual swim meet over Davenport West at home on Thursday night 111-43 to end their regular variety season.
“We were really front loaded this season with good teams. The kids knew what we were getting into going in with only 13 swimmers and we knew we had a chance with some meets at the end,” Clinton Coach Albert Hayton said. “The goal was to try to get these guys and it’s nice to end the season on a good note like this.”
The meet was a rescheduled meet from Jan. 11 and one that the River Kings normally wouldn’t be swimming this late in the season.
“It kind of stinks because we normally wouldn’t have this meet. It’s kind of in the middle of their taper,” Hayton said. “They still get a full week next week to come down from their workouts. It’s just taper week, you try to gear them all up and hopefully they’ve put enough in for the season and they can tap into whatever they have for reserves and get something good out of it.”
The River Kings took first place in all but three varsity events. Payton Raaymakers swam a 2:32.59 to win the 200 Yard IM and swam a 1:12.71 to win the 100 Yard Backstroke. He was also on the relay team with Aidan Smith, Chris Taylor-Bice and Tanner Raaymakers that took first in the 200 Yard Medley Relay.
Tanner Raaymakers finished first in the 500 Yard IM and Jack Marlowe grabbed a first place finish in the 100 Yard Free. Aidan Smith swam a 1:16.50 to beat the field in the 100 Yard Breaststroke.
“For the most part they did pretty well and were close to their season bests so far,” Hayton said. “It was nothing too crazy—neither slower than normal or too fast. There were fast swims so it was good.”
The relay team of Marlowe,Taylor-Bice, Smith and Nate Cady also edged Davenport West by two seconds in the 200 Yard Free Relay with a time of 1:46.01. Marlowe took a first place finish in the 100 Yard Free.
The meet had high energy from both teams, who are winding down their seasons. This included a mock rowing team made up of Davenport West swimmers at the end of the pool cheering on their teammates.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that before in my life. It’s kind of interesting,” Hayton said about the Davenport West cheers and acting. “There’s always different chants and things people will do. We used to have a trident so there’s stuff out there.
“It’s our last one and when you start on your taper the last couple weeks of the season to get ready for championship stuff, they do get more energy. We kind of have to contain them because they get a little squirrelly. They get distracted by butterflies and flashing lights.”
The Clinton team was sporting bleach blonde hair as they cheered on their teammates as a way to celebrate the end of a season and get ready for the qualifying meets.
“A lot of schools bleach their hair or shave weird designs or mohawks or old man hair cut,” Hayton said. “This year they all just bleached their hair.
This Saturday they travel to Muscatine for a JV Invitational. The following Saturday—Feb. 3—is the district meet at Clinton which will determine state qualifiers.
“We’ll have some of the top kids in the state here trying to qualify for the state meet,” Hayton said. “It will be a good show.”
Hayton’s young team isn’t necessarily looking for state berths this year, but he does expect big performances and improvements. His team—which is heavily saturated with underclassman—is looking at the next year or two for big strides in the state qualifying meets.
“If you make it to the state meet, that’s great and always a goal,” Hayton said. “Our main goal though is we just want to swim fast at the end of the season. A big time drop or a little time drop, any kind of a time drop is what we’re looking for. We want to get as close to 100% drops at the meet so we’ll see how that goes.”