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Men’s swimming set to take on Michigan

BY IAN MURPHY | OCTOBER 03, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Iowa men’s swim team will have a tough test this weekend against an opponent that recently hung a 2013 national championship banner. Michigan comes to Iowa City the winners of four consecutive Big Ten conference meet titles, and five of the last the six.

The Wolverines are good, having finished ranked second in the College Swimming Coaches Association of America poll last season. They consistently dominate the Big Ten conference, posting a dual-meet record of 31-1 in the last six years. (Iowa posted a 1-6 league record last year; the lone win came against Michigan State.)

“Michigan is one year removed from winning the NCAA title [in 2013], so you’re looking at swimming against NCAA champions individually,” said head coach Marc Long, although he likes his team’s chances to compete with the Maize and Blue. “I feel a hunger with this team … they're out there to compete at this level.”

This competition continues a trend of dual meets before Iowa’s intrasquad competition. The Hawkeyes opened with Michigan last season in Ann Arbor before returning home for the Black & Gold meet.

This is especially significant for the team’s youth presence, as eight members of this year’s team are freshman.

“We see a difference in a lot of guys they’re ready to go, they're motivated” redshirt junior and team captain Brian Donatelli said about the younger members of the on the team.

Added Long: “This year is going to be a year of development. We’re large underdogs, we’re preparing for the end of the year and for the future.”

However, for the swimmers, being underdogs doesn’t phase them.

“All around, they’re a great program,” Donatelli said. He added that he thinks his team can compete with the reigning Big Ten champs. “I’m very confident that we can beat a lot of guys in different events.”

This will be Donatelli’s first meet for the Hawkeyes since missing all of last year with a torn ACL.

“It’s exciting, they’re one of the best teams in the nation, so it kind of gives us a chance to beat some guys there,” he said. “For me personally it’s an opportunity to race against some good guys.”

Some of those “good guys” include the Big Ten’s defending 200-yard butterfly champion, Michigan junior Dylan Bosch.

But the Hawkeyes have some good guys as well. Three members of the team competed at  Phillips 66 Nationals over the summer: Donatelli, fellow team captain, senior and three-time honorable mention All-American Grant Betulius, and junior Mike Nelson.

“It’s exciting to race against them right away.” Betulius said. “It’s a great opportunity.”

The two-day clash will feature a relay meet Friday and a full-meet lineup Saturday. The full meet lineup includes both 100- and 200-yard distances in stroke events, the 200-yard medley relay, and the 400-yard free relay.

Despite the longer weekend of racing, the Hawkeyes are ready to go.

“I think we’re prepared,” Betulus said. “It’ll be tough to compete against them, but once we hit the water all we’re looking to do is race.”


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