The results have become otherwise irrelevant.
The Marshalltown boys' swim team has found such success with its training that competing in its fourth event in eight days was just another session in the pool pointed toward a greater goal.
It helps to soften the hard lesson learned on Saturday at the Bobcat Invitational.
T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE
Marshalltown senior John Mahlstede competes in the 2x500-yard freestyle relay during Saturday’s Bobcat Invitational at the MHS pool. Mahlstede and Sam Carter combined to place second in a time of 10 minutes, 39.37 seconds.
With event victories so hard to come by because of West Des Moines Valley's attendance, Marshalltown's one gold medal on the day was erased by disqualification when senior Paul Landherr failed to come set for the starting gun in the 2x50-yard freestyle relay.
He and Blair Van Staalduine combined on a time of 46.43 seconds that would have been nearly a second better than runner-up Valley's 47.20.
"Paul Landherr had four lifetime-best swims, and nobody feels worse than he does about the disqualification on the 50," said MHS head coach Mike Loupee. "He didn't gain an unfair advantage, but he's moving on the start and the rule says you don't move on the start.
Team Standings - 1. West Des Moines Valley 90, 2. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 69, 3. Marshalltown 55, 4. Newton 43.
(* - denotes new meet record)
200 MEDLEY RELAY - 1. Valley 1:42.45; 2. MHS (Mahlstede, Dulaney, Van Staalduine, Landherr) 1:47.01; 3. CRK 1:47.11; 4. NWT 1:49.64.
2x200 FREESTYLE RELAY - 1. Valley (Merriman, Bodin) 3:44.17; 2. MHS (Carter, Mahlstede) 3:53.92; 3. CRK 4:01.56; 4. NWT 4:30.65.
2x200 MEDLEY RELAY - 1. CRK (Kitsos, Heisler) 4:23.27; 2. VAL 4:23.34; 3. MHS (Beurskens, Heinrichs) 5:16.66.
2x50 FREESTYLE RELAY - 1. VAL (Blazek, Eiler) 47.20; 2. CRK 47.47; 3. NWT 50.38.
2x100 BUTTERFLY RELAY - 1. VAL (Yu, Gorham) *1:52.31; 2. CRK 2:02.08; 3. MHS (Dulaney, Van Staalduine) 2:05.30.
2x100 FREESTYLE RELAY - 1. NWT (Norcross, Pinto) 1:41.34; 2. VAL 1:43.98; 3. CRK 1:47.55; 4. MHS (Barnard, Podhajsky) 1:58.47.
2x500 FREESTYLE RELAY - 1. VAL (Merriman, Fox) 10:17.14; 2. MHS (Carter, Mahlstede) 10:39.37; 3. CRK 11:29.48; 4. NWT 12:45.66.
200 FREESTYLE RELAY - 1. VAL (Gorham, Blazek, Vandike, Bodin) 1:32.85; 2. CRK 1:33.05; 3. MHS (Van Staalduine, Cope, Landherr, Carter) 1:35.99; 4. NWT 1:36.22.
2x100 BACKSTROKE - 1. VAL (Gorham, Yu) *1:53.38; 2. NWT 1:56.85; 3. CRK 1:58.22; 4. MHS (Lothe, Beurskens) 2:19.75.
2x100 BREASTSTROKE - 1. VAL (Bodin, Vandike) *2:04.41; 2. MHS (Dulaney, Cope) 2:20.34; 3. CRK 2:20.48; 4. NWT 2:29.97.
400 FREESTYLE RELAY - 1. CRK (Casey, Richardson, Urbi, Heisler) 3:29.18; 2. VAL 3:29.65; 3. MHS (Landherr, Mahlstede, Carter, Dulaney) 3:35.75; 4. NWT 4:21.80.
"We talked about that, and it's better to have this experience in December than in the district meet in February, so we'll take it as a learning experience and we move on."
Same goes for the grueling week the Bobcats are having. By the time Monday's home dual meet against Grinnell has come to pass, Marshalltown will have competed in five events in a span of 10 days.
So all the learning, all the training will better prepare the Bobcats for the end of the season, regardless of the final results of the meets along the way. MHS charted 18 lifetime-best times and 14 season bests on the day.
"We know Valley's strong, we swam (against) them on Thursday night, so we were mostly swimming for second place in a lot of events," said Loupee. "We knew Kennedy was a close meet to us, and maybe if we get those first-place points we're right there with Kennedy.
"But this was our fourth meet in an eight-day stretch and the guys are tired, so to have this kind of performance ... We keep getting faster with all those meets and that's a testament to the kids' work ethic, they're learning to focus in meets, those are all great things, and as we get stronger and we get in better shape we're going to continue to see improvement."
The Bobcats, by the way, were third out of four teams at their home relay invitational. Valley was first with 90 points, winning eight of 11 events and setting three meet records. Kennedy came in second with 69 points, Marshalltown was third with 55 and Newton last with 43.
Landherr's disqualification did not affect the final team standings, nor did it seem to impact his day in the pool much. He logged lifetime bests in each of his swims, helping the Bobcats to a second-place finish in the 200 medley relay and third-place results in the 200 free relay and the 400 free relay.
The 200 medley relay foursome of John Mahlstede, Raymond Dulaney, Van Staalduine and Landherr came in second to Valley, as did Sam Carter and Mahlstede in the 2x200 freestyle relay. Carter and Mahlstede both charted new lifetime bests in taking silver in the 2x500 free relay, while Dulaney and Connor Cope came in second to Valley's record-setting tandem of Alex Bodin and Jaden Vandike in the 2x100 breaststroke.
One of Marshalltown's three meet records fell to the Tigers during the day, as Valley's Derek Yu and Sam Gorham edged an eight-year-old mark in the 2x100 butterfly. Yu and Gorham timed in at 1:52.31, ousting the record of 1:52.53 set by Aaron Gervich and Matt Dahlke in 2004.
Yu and Gorham also teamed up to top the 2x100 backstroke record by more than a second.
Marshalltown gets a day of rest before returning to the pool for Monday's home dual with Grinnell, which will be preceded by a morning practice and a warm-up session before the meet.
"We need to continue our training, so that will serve to loosen the guys up and have them swimming tired like we want them being used to," said Loupee. "We hope to be competitive with Grinnell and we'll look to get a win on the board Monday."