They helped bring the Bobcats back to the boys state swimming championships en masse while redecorating the Marshalltown High School pool in the process.
For MHS seniors Carson Beals and Nash Perisho, continuing their swimming careers in college seemed like the appropriate next step.
Beals and Perisho both signed their National Letters of Intent on Thursday at the Roundhouse, as Beals felt a click with the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay while Perisho found the right fit with Morningside College in Sioux City.
The Bobcat duo combined to swim in 18 events at state during their high school careers and shared in two of the newest records to grace the wall at the MHS pool. Perisho, Marcus Barker, Ryne Downey and Beals broke a 15-year-old school record in the 400-yard freestyle relay in the 2018-2019 season, while the contingent of Beals, Barker, Aaron Seberger and Perisho pushed past the school’s 200 freestyle relay record this winter.
It’s the third time in his 30 years of coaching, Mike Loupee said, that two Bobcat swimmers from the same class have committed to competing at the next level.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Loupee said. “For Nash and Carson, they both have left a strong stamp with all their career numbers at the high school and both have been great kids to coach. I think they both have a lot faster swims in them.”
Beals was a 10-time state meet entrant during his Bobcat career, highlighted by a four-event appearance in 2018-2019 and a trio of state meet medals. He placed seventh in the 100 freestyle as a senior, while also appearing on a pair of 200 freestyle relays that placed sixth.
His journey to Wisconsin-Green Bay began when former Marshalltown swimmer Ryne Downey, a 2019 graduate, referred him to one of the places he had considered before finding a spot on the swim team at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
“He had their information and he brought it to me and I figured Green Bay is a pretty nice area and I like the Packers, so it was a great opportunity and it just worked out,” Beals said. “Right after the state swimming meet I filled out their questionnaire and they’re like, ‘let’s talk some more.’
“Their coach was very enthusiastic and it just clicked. It felt like the best opportunity and the best place to go in the fall.”
Beals didn’t get the opportunity to make his official college visit to UWGB because of the coronavirus pandemic, but his family made the 6-hour drive to Green Bay and conducted their own tour of campus.
“I thought it would be a pretty nice place to swim, it’s Division I and I like Green Bay, so I sent them my stuff and it just worked out,” said Beals, who intends to major in economics.
Beals, the youngest of four, is the second collegiate swimmer in the family as his sister Zoe recently completed her second year with the Iowa Central Community College program. Mackenzie Beals ran competitively at Minnesota State University in Mankako, Minn. as well.
“It’s been in the back of my mind these past four years and I always thought it was a big deal to be in the newspaper,” he said.
Loupee said Beals has certainly earned all the ink.
“His maturity from year to year has been really strong,” Loupee said. “What Green Bay will get in Carson is he’s a tenacious competitor. It was always fun and several times especially this last season you would see that with him on the anchor leg in a relay and we would be behind, and Carson would refuse to lose that relay.
“He’s in a great spot (with Green Bay) and the coach said they were looking for sprinters. Carson just missed our 50 (freestyle) record and he’s one of our top 100 freestylers. With the extended training and his growth, he’s got a real opportunity to be able to be a contributor especially in the freestyle sprints. And with the expanded events, there’s lots of relays, so he’s got a great opportunity and it’s important to him so he’ll be ready to go.”
Beals was a starting linebacker and fullback for the Bobcat football team, as well as a member of the MHS boys tennis squad that missed out on its spring season because of the pandemic. Loupee said Green Bay was allured with the idea of having Beals on campus for only one sport considering the things he achieved during his prep career.
“That was as intriguing to the coach as anything,” Loupee said. “He can see his times and then project what that might be when he can train a whole lot more than he did in a high school season.”
Beals, too, wonders what might become of it all.
“I’m a 13-week swimmer so I swim my 13 weeks then I get the rest of the 10 months off (from swimming), but I’m fortunate I got to swim my final races as a Bobcat swimmer and that’s very important,” he said. “Hopefully I can improve my times, obviously, and make an impact on the team.”
Wisconsin-Green Bay is an NCAA Division I swimming program that competes in the Horizon League.
Morningside, meanwhile, is a member of the NAIA and the Great Plains Athletic Conference, where Perisho hopes to eventually make his mark. Perisho was a state meet entrant eight times in his Bobcat career, just missing out on the school’s 100 butterfly record while also contributing as one of the team’s top freestylers.
Perisho has a pair of state meet medals as a member of those same 200 freestyle relays as Beals that placed sixth in back-to-back seasons, while just missing out on his own individual medal with a ninth-place finish in the 200 freestyle as a senior.
Morningside was recommended to Perisho by one of the Mustangs’ swimmers, and he couldn’t pass up the chance to compete collegiately while pursuing his degree in computer science.
“I just decided ‘why not,’ I might as well go,” he shrugged. “I was kind of half-and-half thinking about [swimming in college] but then I got the offer and so I decided I might as well go to college and swim and just not pass up that experience.”
Perisho didn’t get the opportunity to tour the Morningside College campus, but he took a virtual tour and compared its computer science program with that of other schools he was considering at the time. Morningside won him over, as did longtime head coach Bryan Farris.
“Coach approached me and said I would make a huge difference with the team,” Perisho said. “I’d like to be placed lower on the team so I have more time to improve. I’m going for my education and to see where I go with swimming.”
Loupee expects Perisho will probably have a chance to make an immediate impact because of his adaptability and his work ethic.
“Nash loves to swim,” Loupee said. “The one thing that resonates with me through four years of Nash is he just loves to come to practice and swim the practices and be with the guys. He’s a great teammate and extremely hard working in practice.
“Nash has an opportunity to contribute, especially in the butterfly. That’s where his coach is excited about him. They’re losing their best butterflier and I reminded Nash there’s a 200-yard butterfly. He’s a very versatile swimmer and I think he’ll fit in a Morningside right away.”