BOONE - The crux of the Marshalltown boys' swimming team's season may be the eight-day stretch it just started.
The Bobcats swam their first of five events in a span of eight days, finishing fourth by a mere two points in Saturday's six-team Toreador Relays at Boone High School.
Marshalltown's combination of Sam Carter and John Mahlstede captured both of the team's two event victories. The Bobcat tandem won the 400-yard freestyle relay in a time of 3 minutes, 54.61 seconds, and then also claimed first in the 1,000 freestyle relay in 10:49.63.
Both swimmers posted season-best times in their halves of both races. Carter cut 6 seconds off his 500 time and Mahlsted shaved more than 4 seconds compared to Tuesday's season-opening dual at Boone.
"Overall we had 14 lifetime bests and 30 season bests, which is real strong improvement in just four short days," said MHS coach Mike Loupee. "The hard work is already starting to pay some dividends."
Marshalltown's 200 medley relay, one of the traditional four-man relay events, scored second place in 1:46.95 with the group of Mahlstede, Ray Dulaney, Blair Van Staalduine and Paul Landherr.
Van Staalduine and Landherr picked up bronze in the 100 free relay (48.07), while the twosome of Dulaney and Konner Kacmarynski took third in the 200 breaststroke relay (2:29.87).
Dulaney teamed with Alex Heinrichs for fourth in the 400 medley relay, and the Bobcats' 400 free relay foursome of Mahlstede, Landherr, Van Staalduine and Carter also came in fourth.
Dulaney had one lifetime best and three season bests, according to Loupee.
"This was day one of an eight-day marathon, with five meets in eight days the coaching staff is interested to see how we hold up with this stretch," said Loupee. "It's great to have the competition but you lose training yardage. It's a tough stretch, the next eight days will be pretty taxing on the guys.
"It's a brutal stretch. It will give us a true test of character of the guys."
Waukee emerged with 75 points and Saturday's team title. Host Boone was a distance second with 43, followed by Carroll (35) and Marshalltown (33). Fort Dodge (24) and Southeast Polk (14) rounded out the event standings.
The Bobcats remain on the road with Tuesday's trip to Indianola. MHS has its home opener on Thursday against West Des Moines Valley. The Bobcat Invitational follows next Saturday and Grinnell comes to town on Dec. 10.