Five of six Hawkeye men swimmers will compete in NCAA's today for the first time


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Six members of the Iowa men’s swimming team will begin NCAA competition today in the Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis. The men’s NCAA swimming championships are set to begin at 11 a.m. and conclude March 30.

“It’s a competitive meet. There’s not a bad swimmer or diver there,” Iowa head coach Marc Long said. “Last year, we were 26th. This year, we’d like to crack top 25 and move up as a program.”

The six Hawkeyes will compete against 229 of the nation’s best swimmers. The group is one of the most diverse to go in recent years with seniors Byron Butler and Jordan Huff, junior Andrew Marciniak, sophomore Grant Betulius, and freshmen David Ernstsson and Roman Trussov.

“We’ve got some veterans, and then we got some new guys,” Long said. “I think that’s real nice. It’s a different attitude. The demeanor is low-key and confident. We’re going to have a lot of fun this week.”

The Hawkeyes increased their number of national competitors just by one after having five compete in the 2011-12 season.

Of the six, Huff is the only Hawkeye to have competed in the NCAA meet. But it’s not something Huff, or Long, view as a disadvantage.

“It might be their first NCAA meet but it’s not like it’s their first swim meet ever,” Huff said. “They’re going to come in with all kinds of confidence and I just have all the confidence in the world with them that they’ll swim great and spectacular.”

Long said the group has continued to improve after a seventh-place finish at Big Tens, and that turns and times have become sharper, as well as their confidence.

This will be Huff’s third-consecutive trip to the NCAA’s, where he’ll have an opportunity of becoming a three-time All-American. Though he said he’s excited for another opportunity of top competition, Huff is modest about his accomplishments thus far.

“I think it just shows that I’ve been a part of some really great teams and I’ve been lucky enough to qualify,” Huff said. “Now, I’m just really excited to kind of end the career on a high note.”

Butler, who holds the school record in the 100 butterfly, will also end his Iowa career with his first opportunity to compete on the national stage.

Huff, who roomed with Butler for their first two years at Iowa, said the opportunity means a lot to the New Berlin, Wis., native. The two have had goals in finishing out their careers at the NCAAs together.

“I think that this is a great demonstration of the kind of effort he’s put in,” Huff said. “He’s been a great leader on this team.”

Both Betulius and Trussov will additionally compete in individual meets where they rank nationally. Betulius will swim in the 100 and 200 backstroke and Trussov in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes.

Iowa posted automatic qualifying times in the 200-and 400-medley relays during the Big Ten championships. The 200-medley team of Betulius, sophomore Korey Schneider, Butler, and Huff, finished fifth and the 400-medley team of Betulius, Trussov, Butler, and Huff finished in third place.

Schneider did not make the trip, for undisclosed reasons, and Marciniak will fill his place. Marciniak shares the excitement with his fellow swimmers and is ready to compete at a new level.

“It’s going to be a great experience … It’s a great group of guys, great relationships,” Marciniak said. “It’s a really good time to swim in relays with a couple of these guys and I’m looking forward to doing that again.”

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