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Season's best carries men's swimming to victory

BY RYAN RODRIGUEZ | OCTOBER 21, 2013 5:00 AM

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When the Iowa men’s swimming and diving team earned its first Big-Ten win of the season on Oct. 18, it did so in convincing fashion.

The Hawkeyes didn’t just beat Michigan State — they dominated the Spartans. Of the 16 events, the Hawkeye’s won 13 of them, including four sweeps in the 200-medley relay, 100 backstroke, 1-meter diving, and the 200 breaststroke.

“It was great to get the win, but we’re not totally satisfied,” head coach Marc Long said. “We had a lot of things we were looking to see for later on in the season tonight. Some of it was good, but we obviously still think that there’s work that needs to be done.”

The 182-113 victory over the Spartans was the team’s first win of the season and was punctuated by season-best performances by some of the team’s key contributors.

Sophomore Charles Holliday had a breakout performance for the Black and Gold, posting two individual wins in the 50 and 100 freestyle, as well as a first-place finish as a member of the winning 400-freestyle relay team along with Jackson Allen, Gianni Sesto, and Grant Betulius.

“Charles really stepped it up today,” Long said. “He came ready to swim and contributed in a big way. I’m very pleased with his performance.”

Holliday narrowly beat out teammate Roman Trussov for a win in the 50 free with a time of 20.90 seconds. What made it special was that he did so in his first ever Big Ten meet as a Hawkeye.

“It was nice, especially since it was my first one,” Holliday said. “I didn’t travel with the team last year, so to get the nod for the first time tonight and actually get first place was pretty cool.”

In Holliday’s mind, his dominance was the result of hard work and preparation, as well as acute mental focus.

When you look at the team as whole, it’s little wonder that Holliday contributed such a performance. Several of the seniors led by example and also had career nights in the pool.

Seniors Betulius and Andrew Marciniak each posted season-high finishes in the 100 back and 100 breast. Their times of 49.88 and 55.69, respectively, helped both earn first-place finishes. In their minds, they were just doing what they could to help the team.

“It was a great win early in the season to get,” Marciniak said. “We’re going to use it as motivation to get some more Big Ten wins. Setting a personal record is great, too, because it feels like everything is finally coming together. For me, I try to set a PR every time I swim.”

“Swimming the Big Ten is great,” Long said. “The teams are always well-coached, and it’s great practice and preparation for the end of the season.”


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