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Freshmen swim strong in conference opener

BY IAN MURPHY | OCTOBER 06, 2014 5:00 AM

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Simply put, Iowa couldn’t match Michigan’s depth.

The Hawkeye men’s swim team lost its season and Big Ten opener to the Wolverines by a score of 179-113, but there is reason to be hopeful for the Hawkeyes.

The Hawkeye freshmen performed well against arguably the best team in the Big Ten, and undoubtedly the toughest dual meet competition Iowa will have this season. Two Hawkeye divers, junior Addison Boschult and sophomore Brandis Heffner, were first and second on both the 1- and 3-meter spring boards.

Head coach Marc Long stressed again that it is still early in the season and the team is preparing for the end of the year.

“It’s no fun to lose anytime,” he said.  “With all these young people, we saw sparks, we have a lot of development still to happen … it’s a proud group of competitors we’ve got, and we want to get better and will.”

One of those sparks came in the form of newcomer Thomas Rathbun, who hung in with Michigan’s Anders Nielsen, an Olympian from Denmark, through most of the 500 freestyle before fading in the final 100 to finish second. He was also the highest Hawkeye finisher in the 200 freestyle, taking fifth.  

“It was nice to see them race,” senior Grant Betulius said. “We had a few really good performances.”

Another strong performance came from Jerzy Tworaski, a freshman from Poland, who swam in his first meet in a 25-yard pool over the weekend.

“It was pretty exciting, It’s my first time in yards,” Tworaski said. “Twenty-five yards is a little bit shorter, it’s not that much shorter but it seems to be very, very short.”

In international competition, short-course swimming is raced in 25-meter pools. Tworaski has been a member of the Polish Junior national team.  “College swimming in the United States is very very fast,” he said.

His first yards meet was also his first college meet, which he said was a special experience.

“It’s pretty exciting to be part of the team; you can feel the team spirit,” Tworaski said. “It’s pretty amazing.” He finished third in 200 butterfly and was part of the Hawkeyes A 200 medley relay.

But perhaps the biggest spark for Iowa came in its only victory of the meet, Betulius’ victory in the 100 backstroke.

Betulius touched out Michigan junior Pete Brumm by just eleven-hundredths of a second, taking the win with a time of 49.27 seconds.

“It was really nice to see that,” Long said. “He’s been 11th at NCAAs before, [he is a] returning All American, it’s nice to that spark from him early in the season.”

For Betulius, the victory was equally exciting.

“It was definitely exciting to do that,” Betulius said about his victory. “[Michigan is] always throwing up pretty fast times, so it was definitely nice to get my hand on the wall first.”

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


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