New Start, New Season



Daniel Marchini '21 swimming the 100 yard breaststroke in a dual meet against Cedar Rapids Washington.

Alison Kenaston, Sports Editor

The familiar smell of chlorine fills the Mercer Recreational Center as Ike Casey yells at swimmers to hold their streamlines alongside head coach Zane Hugo. After six years, Casey is back at Mercer again, only now instead of swimming on the City High boys swim team, he is the assistant coach.

The boys swim team has 40 boys out for this season. A mixture of new faces adorns the team, breaking a record of the number of students on the boys swim team.

“My freshman year [of high school], I started in lane one and I didn’t know how to side breathe or do a flip turn,” Casey said. “I’ve kind of been there [and understand] the new guys that are just joining.”

Previously, Casey coached at Loras College, from which he graduated.  

“I coached at Loras college last year, then here at City High, and I graduated [from City High] in 2013, so I’m familiar with this setting,” Casey said.

Casey started swimming his freshman year at City High and continued swimming throughout college. 

“I actually did it to stay in shape to play soccer. Then, over my freshman and sophomore years [of high school], I just fell in love with [it and] decided to keep doing it through college,” Casey said.

Something that Casey wants to incorporate into the season this year is to help the swimmers visualize more when they get to bigger meets.  

“I was a big visualizer before races, because I was a sprinter. So, leading up to the season, the state or districts or whatever, athletes [will be] doing some visualization to just get confident about what’s going to happen,” Casey said.

Since there are 40 boys going out for the swim team this year, Casey has compensated for the new swimmers. 

“Especially for swimmers that haven’t been to a big meet, it’s a little bit of a shock when you get there and there are [about] eight teams. Visualizing helps ease that transition and just gives them a little more confidence when they get there,” Casey said. 

City High won its first duel meet this season against Pleasant Valley and have continued to win from there on, including victories against Cedar Rapids Washington with a score of 93-77 and Waterloo with a score of 123-46.

Casey and Hugo’s overall goals for the boys swim team this year vary widely, from increased confidence for the newer swimmers to higher rankings in the championship season.

“I want them to grow as athletes and people, because that’s what high school to me is all about,” Casey said.

To add on to that, Hugo has his sights set on a better rank for the team at the state meet. In the previous season, the boys ranked 14th.  

“Personally, I want to see us go for our best finish. Since I’ve been coaching…we have been in seventh place but we should go for better than that,” Hugo said.