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Second place still a moral victory for Hawkeyes

BY RYAN RODRIGUEZ | DECEMBER 09, 2013 5:00 AM

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Despite its second-place finish in the Hawkeye Invitational Dec. 6-Sunday, the Iowa men’s swimming and diving team has room to improve and is proud of its efforts against highly ranked Notre Dame.

The Hawkeyes defeated Denver and Milwaukee but could not close the gap on first-place Notre Dame. Still, head coach Marc Long was pleased with the Hawkeyes’ efforts during the three days of competition.

Notre Dame came to swim, amassing an impressive 1,228.5 points for the win. However Iowa was not far behind with 977.5.

“I’m extremely proud of all of them and how they raced,” Long said. “There were so many races that sometimes it takes us as coaches some time to go back and look at it all, but for sure, this team has put a ton of work in. We have set ourselves up well for the second half of the season.”

A moral victory if there ever was one, several Iowa swimmers and divers had breakout performances in their events, capping off an exciting three days of competition with a strong statement.

Early on, Iowa’s sprinters carried the torch and set the bar high for the rest of the team. In the finals for the 100 freestyle, Hawkeyes David Ernstsson, Gianni Sesto, Jackson Halsmer, and Jackson Allen managed to finish 1-2-3-4, with freshman Joshua Gill taking seventh to finish off a dominating Hawkeye final.

“I’m very proud of this entire team,” Sesto said. “Some of these time that we got going now are better than the time we were going at Big Tens last year, so to come out and really do well was good. We still have three months to go, which a lot of time in the swimming world.”

The Black and Gold were equally impressive in the 200-breaststroke finals, which saw sophomore standout Roman Trussov take first place, as well as fellow sophomore Quillan Oak take the third spot with a time of 1:58.87, an NCAA “B” cut time.

Iowa’s divers also chipped in with some outstanding performances.

Sophomore Addison Boschult set an Iowa school record with a finals score of 373.85, and Brandis Heffner took sixth overall with a score of 239.8.

“It was really big,” Boschult said. “Plus, it was really awesome to be able to hear it from my old coach that was here. He was actually the one that told me that I had broken it. I was so surprised. It was a really good feeling.”

The meet was concluded with a time trial for the men’s 400 medley relay, an event that had all the audience members on their feet.

“It won’t show on the score sheet, but we put that relay together trying to get an ‘A’ cut for NCAAs,” Long said. “But unfortunately, we just missed it by three-tenths of a second. I’m happy to see it. They really stood out to me.”

Still, the Hawkeyes lost, and that doesn’t mean they have to be happy about it.

“[Notre Dame] has depth I didn’t even know they had, but for them to come into Iowa and win in our building kind of gets under my skin, I’m not going to lie,” Sesto said. “But credit to them, they stepped up and swam great.”


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