Iowa Central swim program continues to climb the ladder
Joe Plane has taken the Iowa Central swim program to new heights with each passing season.
But Plane isn’t about ready to just rest on those past successes and expect it to stay the same.
“It’s important that we continue to have higher and higher goals,” Plane said. “If we settle into ‘this is as good as we can be,’ then we will get worse.
“I continue to do my best to make sure that we are improving overall as a team, which includes me being a better coach as well.”
Both the Triton men and women earned Top-4 finishes at nationals last March, securing five national championships in all.
Leading the group of returning swimmers will be Tjeerd Van Stein, who was part of the winning 200 freestyle replay. In all, Iowa Central captured 56 CSCAA All-American individual and eight more relay honors, set one NJCAA record, 25 school records and over 100 Top-10 times between both programs.
Along with Van Stein, Dalton Hammel, Andres Giles, Andrew Iverson, Gerard Ijspeert and Javier Santiago all scored points at nationals. Van Stein, Iverson and Ijspeert have all signed to swim for St. Cloud State University in the fall.
For the women, Magali Mouton and Shannon Murphy recorded points at nationals.
“With that level of returning performances (on the men’s side), we’re looking to all those men to continue to improve and be good leaders for our large freshmen class of 10,” Plane said. “We will rely heavily on both ladies to not only perform well individually but on relays as well.”
Kyle McKenzie and Jonathon Turner on the men’s roster along with seven women newcomers are key pieces to the success of the Tritons.
“Our first semester went really well,” Plane said. “We only had two months of full practices and one off-campus scrimmage. Most swimmers went life-time bests despite all the challenges.
“Freshman swimmers have been good about figuring out the different training we do versus what they were used to. I was very proud of how the first semester went. This semester, we get into our true season so now it will be how they hold up to training, classes and the addition of meets.”
The Triton program returned to the scene in 2015 and earned a pair of Top-4 finishes in the team standings at nationals. They have continued to grow from that moment into the current model of consistency.
“I was lucky that Mike Peterson recruited such a great group for that 2015-16 year,” Plane said. “Using that success as a springboard, I sell our program as a high-level, college athletic experience where the student-athletes can save money their first two years.
“We also talk about how they can continue to improve and look for better university/college opportunities after swimming here for two years. I recruit swimmers who are not just good swimmers, but good human beings and are willing to be part of a hard-working family environment.
“In doing that, I feel I have built our program in such a way that we can continue to bring in student-athletes who are excited to be a part of our team and family.”
Over the past five seasons, the Tritons have earned 28 combined individual and relay national runner-up finishes to go with six combined individual and relay national championships.
Iowa Central heads to the University of South Dakota on January 29 to begin the season. They also have meets scheduled through April when the NJCAA National Championships begin on April 28.
The Midwest Cup is set for Fort Dodge on April 9-10.