Controversy in the pool

BY IAN MURPHY | OCTOBER 13, 2014 5:00 AM

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Touchpads fail in swimming, and when they do, it comes down to the backup button linked to the computer. When that button doesn’t get pushed, it creates problems.

That’s exactly what happened at the Hawkeye swimming Black and Gold intrasquad meet on Oct. 11.
The meet was separated by just 6 points, with the Black team holding an 82-76 lead heading into the last two events, a pair of 200-freestyle relays remained for the men and women.

The problems started in the women’s relay.

The time pad for the Black team’s “A” relay did not fire, resulting in two official reviews, a protest from the Black team, and a video review that was inconclusive of who won.

In official competition, video reviews are not allowed; however, head coach Marc Long said the review would be for the sake of fairness. The video did not show anything because the cameras could not see the touchpads below the pool deck. Eventually, the relay was ruled a tie, and the 7 points for a relay win were split between the teams.

“A controversial finish,” Long said about the relay. “Yes, absolutely.”

The score heading into the men’s relay was 85.5 for the Gold and 79.5 for the Black, meaning the men’s heat of the relay would be the deciding factor, the winner taking all seven points.

The Black team of junior Charles Holliday, sophomore Joseph Halsmer, Roman Trussov, and senior Grant Betulius took the men’s side of the relay in 1:23.14 to 1:23.90 from the Gold team, and the victory by a final score of 86.5-85.5.

Betulius, the captain of the Black team, said this was the most intense and closest intrasquad meet he’s been apart of in his five seasons on the Iowa swimming team. However, he said, he wouldn’t call the finish controversial.

“I feel like all of us are extremely competitive — I wouldn’t call it a controversy, but it was definitely intense,” Betulius said.

Redshirt junior and Gold team captain Brian Donatelli agreed.

“Overall, I thought it was a good racing atmosphere,” Donatelli said. “I know the coaches got really into it, and everyone else got really into it.”

As for the ending, neither Betulius nor Donatelli was upset about the score. Both men were excited about the way the team competed. 

Betulius said he thought both teams thought they won the women’s relay, but no one would be upset. Donatelli had a similar belief. 

“You know, whatever happens, happens.” Donatelli said. “But overall, it was awesome racing; there was a lot sparks from a lot of people,”

Still though, the result of that relay, and subsequently the meet, remains a mystery.

“I kind of wished the pad had registered,” Betulius said. “We’ll probably never know.”

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

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