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Iowa men’s swimming media day notebook

BY IAN MURPHY | OCTOBER 02, 2014 5:00 AM

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National focus

Iowa is hosting both the men’s Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships and the NCAA meet this spring, which will bring national and international attention to the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center.

“I happened to be aquatics director and helped designed the whole thing so it’s kind of a dream come true in other ways than just as a coach,” Iowa head coach Marc Long said. “The NCAA swimming and diving meet is such an international event; some people would say this is the worlds fastest meet because of that.”

A good portion of NCAA swimmers come from outside the United States, including three on the Iowa men’s swim team.

“We’re preparing for February and March” Long said.

The seven-year head coach said emphasizing the focus of the season will be on those meets, rather than this weekend’s bout with Michigan.

For senior Brian Donatelli, who used his redshirt season last year after sitting out with an ACL injury, the NCAA meet will be a highlight of his season.

“It feels like it’s all falling in place,” Donatelli said. “It’s exciting, and it’s one thing our goal is to get going and get people there.”

Injury bug squashed

Both junior David Ernstsson and Donatelli both will be back to full strength this season.

Ernstsson competed last year with a torn slap (an injury in the labrum), which was kept under wraps by the coaching staff.

“He’s coming back from what would have been a career-ending injury,” Long said. “When we get him back to full strength, which will be later this year, he’ll be a great addition with the program.”

Although Ernstsson will not compete this weekend, Long said he should be back to form soon.

“It feels pretty good now, hopefully [I’ll be] getting back to racing for Minnesota [on Oct. 31],” Ernstsson said. “For this semester, I think Hawkeye Invitational [on Dec. 5] is going to be the focus,”

Donatelli is on schedule to be back as early as this weekend.

His ACL injury required five surgeries and became infected. He was hospitalized for 10 days last year and returned home for a semester.

After having time to “reflect on my life,” as Donatelli put it, he is now back as Iowa’s No. 1 sprinter in 2014.

“With the NCAA, a lot of the points are sprint, it’s big [having him back]. He’ll be better than ever done the road. He’s been working hard to get back at it,” Long said.

Young guns expected to contribute

The Hawkeyes are a young team. Eight freshmen are on the roster this year, and Long said they will be expected to contribute right away.

“We need contributors from the freshmen, and we will prepare them like they will be contributors,” Long said.

Iowa prep standout RJ Hemmingsen joins the team this season after setting the Iowa high-school state record in the 100 butterfly with a time of 47.84. He was also a junior national qualifier in the 50 and 100 freestyle and the 100 butterfly and backstroke.

Another freshman who will try to score right away is Polish junior national team member Jerzey Twarowksi, a butterflier who not only won gold in the Polish Junior National Championships but the Senior National Championships as well. He was part of a relay team that set a Polish senior record.

Other freshmen might not have as impressive résumés as these two or as Michigan’s team.

“You’re looking at swimming against NCAA champions individually and Olympians. Some of these freshmen are coming in and they don’t have that experience,” Long said.

Follow @ianfromiowa for updates, news, and analysis about the Iowa men’s swimming team.


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