Men's swimming looks to compete in tough conference


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The Iowa men’s swimming team is feeling optimistic about the upcoming season, thanks to a deep freshman and sophomore class as well as strong senior leadership.

The Hawkeyes have faced No. 3 Michigan and were defeated, 182-110, and while the Wolverines were tough competition, the Hawk schedule doesn’t get any easier from here on out. The Big Ten features six Top-25 ranked teams, including Minnesota and Ohio State, which Iowa will face in the next two weeks.

“We scheduled probably our toughest dual meets in a long time this season,” head coach Marc Long said. “It should be a really great test for our guys to get them ready for the end of the year.”

The Hawkeyes are ranked No. 20 in the country with an overall record of 7-3.

Leading the team in their final seasons wearing the Black and Gold are seniors Andrew Marciniak, Dustin Rhoads, and Gianni Sesto. Marciniak was an honorable mention All-American selection in the 200 and 400-meter relay last season, and Sesto was awarded the same honor in three events.

Rhoads holds the second-fastest time in the 100 back and the third-fastest time in the 200 back in Iowa school history.

Rhoads and Marciniak were also part of the 200 short-course individual medley team that set a world record two weeks ago at Michigan.

“I think we’ve had a great kickoff to our season so far,” Marciniak said. “I think it really lit a fire under the rest of the team to really knock the walls down for the rest of the season.”

Marciniak, one of the biggest believers in the Hawkeyes this season, thinks they are a complete team from top to bottom.

“I can’t really think of anything we need to improve on off the top of my head,” he said. “I’d say we’re a very strong team altogether. I’d just say that we need to keep each other motivated all season long.”

While Marciniak, Rhoads, and Sesto will provide valuable leadership as upperclassmen, the Hawks will also lean heavily on a strong group of underclassmen to help propel them to victory.

Sophomore Roman Trussov was an NCAA qualifier last year, and he started off the new season on the right foot, with a strong showing against Michigan two weeks ago in the season-opener, while freshman Nick Zito was recently named Big Ten freshman of the week. Zito was the first Hawkeye to take home the honor since Trussov won it in November 2012.

“You know, I’m only concerned with getting as good as I can and dropping as much time as I can,” Zito said. “I want to see how far I can make it into championship season. I think this team can accomplish a lot. We started out real good, which just goes to show that we’re going to keep getting better and hopefully do great at the end of the year.”

The season builds up to the Big Ten championships at Michigan in February, a familiar setting for the Hawkeyes.

“We got the opportunity to swim there, so we took it,” Long said. “It was great experience to swim against the defending national champions at their home arena where Big Tens will be.”

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