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A challenging season ahead for the Trojan-Bolts

2020-2021 Iowa City West High-Liberty High boys swimming preview
Boyd Skelley readies himself for the start of an event last season at the Coralville Recreation Center, the home of the Iowa City West High-Liberty High Trojan Bolts. Skelley, West coach Byron Butler said, is a key sprinter for the combined team.

CORALVILLE– Athletic coaches often speak of and guide their charges through overcoming adversity and rising above the challenges placed before them.
For Byron Butler and the Iowa City West High-Liberty High School Trojan-Bolts boys swim team, the 2020-2021 season is already proving to be a source of adversity and challenge.
First, the season is delayed due to the Iowa City Community School District’s temporary shift back to virtual learning, putting all extracurricular activities, including athletics, on-hold until the students return to the classrooms. A waiver from the state granted to the district continues the online education through Monday, Dec. 14, with some calling for the district to stay out until after the Christmas and New Year break.
For the Trojan-Bolts, it’s a frustrating challenge, but mostly a test of patience waiting out the hiatus. The bigger challenge, tougher to overcome, is the amount of talent the squad lost to graduation and other factors such as relocation and injury.
“We’ve lost a ton of our top end talent and some of our depth,” Butler said. “Not only did we lose seniors (including Andrey Arshava, Joseph Bartoszczyk, Daniel Bodin, Ed Dowling, Nick Fairfield, Nolan Frey, Izaak Hajek, Tate Happel, Michael Kimball, Parth Patel, Aiden Petersen, James Pinter, Jared Staskal and Jason Xie), but Diggory Dillingham (a freshman last year) moved to North Carolina, and Damon Conzemius (a junior) might be out for the season.”
Butler noted out of 260 points earned at last year’s state meet in individual and relay events, over 100 points have left.
“We have lost a lot of talent, but we are going to try to still be present (at this season’s state meet),” he said.
Butler and company will rely heavily on a core group of seasoned returning letter winners, including juniors Jordan Christensen, Kirk Brotherton, Boyd Skelley, Andy Luo, Nik Sung and Gavin Keeney with senior Luke Nichols. Christensen, he said, was second in the 100-yard breaststroke at state last year, while Brotherton and Skelley are key sprinters. Luo was a state qualifier in the 500-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly while Sung qualified in the 200 and 500-yard freestyle events. Keeney, the coach said, is a good breaststroker, while Nichols is versatile, one of the faster 50-yard splits.
A pair of freshmen, Max Gerke and Holden Carter, also bolster the Trojan-Bolts’ ranks. Gerke, he said, is likely a qualifier in the 200- and 500-yard freestyles with Carter described as a very good flyer and versatile swimmer.
The team was first in the MVC Supermeet last season, first in the Mississippi Division, and put up a 7-0 dual meet record.
Pending any further delays, the season starts Tuesday, Dec. 15, at the Waterloo Central Intermediate School where the Trojan-Bolts take on the combined Waterloo East and Waterloo West squad. The first home meet, held at the Coralville Recreation Center, located at 1506 8th St., is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 14, as Cedar Rapids Washington visits. The annual rivalry meet with City High is set for Tuesday, Jan. 19.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, state guidelines call for spectators to be limited to only two per participant.

2020-2021 Iowa City West High-Liberty High varsity boys swimming schedule, subject to change:
Tuesday, Dec. 15 AT Waterloo Central Intermediate School 6 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 19 AT Mercer Park Aquatic Center (invitational)11 a.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 22 AT Cedar Falls (Holmes Jr. High School) 6 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 9 AT Linn-Mar High School (invitational) 12 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 12 AT Linn-Mar High School 6 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 14 HOME vs. Cedar Rapids Washington 6 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 19 HOME vs. Iowa City, City High 6 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 23 MVC Varsity Super Meet AT Mercer Park 12 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 6 State Qualifier Meet 12 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 13 STATE MEET