MASON CITY – While dual meet victories are nice, veteran Mason City swimming coach Steve Hugo is singularly focused on time improvements, regardless of the opponent.
On Tuesday, the Mohawks returned home after a pair of road meets and faced a Des Moines Hoover squad that, on paper, was significantly overmatched by the Mohawks.
Hugo could have loaded up the lineup card with the top swimmers in each event and gone for a lopsided win on points, but instead he opted to put some new faces in the lineup and give them the opportunity to establish some personal best times in a varsity meet setting.
With a juggled lineup, the Mohawks still claimed a 69-31 victory for their third win of the season.
“I like to see the girls letter, but they have to earn it,” Hugo said. “There is always a letter-point opportunity.”
Many of Hugo’s top performers on the season were limited to a race or two in the varsity standings but appeared in exhibition heats throughout the evening.
The Mohawks won nine of the 11 swimming events, including all three relays.
The new-look lineup was particularly noticeable over the last half of the meet, beginning with a victory for sophomore Sophie Lunning in the 100 butterfly.
Annalise Brosdahl, another sophomore, followed with a win in the 100 freestyle while Morgan Haus and Amanda Schuessler took second and third in the 500 freestyle.
After Paige Braun, Nia Litterer, Thea Lunning and Madison Braun sprinted away for a win in the 200 freestyle relay, Brosdahl and Marissa Pope came back to finish second and third in the 100 backstroke and Schuessler and Morgan Lupkes to first and second in the 100 breaststroke.
Litterer and Haus then teamed with Beth DeGraw and Mattie Krause for a solid win in the 400 freestyle relay.
Hugo, who was initially concerned with a potential lack of depth on the team, also had the lineup bolstered by three new additions to the roster in Kennedy Dusheck, Savannah Schade and Nora Suorez.
The Mohawks return to competition on Tuesday when it will host West Des Moines Valley in dual meet action.