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Freshmen swimming strong to start the season

BY IAN MURPHY | NOVEMBER 20, 2014 5:00 AM

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Iowa men’s swim team head coach Marc Long has repeatedly said how the freshmen on the team will need to make a big impact this season, and so far, they have lived up to his expectations.

“They’re very matter-of-fact as far as hard working, high expectations, and racing,” Long said.

Even with the focus on the meets at the end of the season, the Hawkeyes have seen their freshmen step into big roles early and often.

On the road at Michigan State, for example, freshmen Jerzy Twarowski and Chris Dawson claimed victories in the 200-medley relay and 1,000-freestyle, respectively.

Later in the meet, another freshman, Thomas Rathbun, swam to victory in the 500 freestyle, and Twarowski claimed a victory in the 100 butterfly.

“The coaches have always said this freshman class is totally new for the University of Iowa,” said freshman RJ Hemmingsen, who took second behind Twarowski in the 100 butterfly at Michigan State. “We’re really a different sort of class that they’ve never had before.”

The latest additions to the team are driven to make an impact. Even more, they’re a very close group, Hemmingsen said, a belief echoed by his teammates.

“I think we’re doing really well; we have a couple of really good impact swimmers,” fellow freshman Colter Allen said. “Hopefully, we’ll put a dent in some of the Big Ten events.”

And they are poised to do so. The top 16 swimmers in each event score points for their team at the conference meet. With their times so far, the Hawkeyes have the potential to see several of their freshmen score points. 

Rathbun is just outside the top-20 in the 200 and 500 freestyles and well within striking distance of the top 16, according to USA swimming’s NCAA Division I event ranking for the Big Ten.

Dawson is 12th in the Big Ten in the 1,000 freestyle, and Twarowski is sixth in the 100 butterfly and third in the 200 butterfly, also according to the USA Swimming NCAA Division I event ranking.

While Long said it’s still early in the season to single any one freshman out as an impact swimmer, he said the talent he’s seen so far from the class could be very exciting down the road.

“It’s a little bit easier to evaluate things after the first semester,” Long said. “It’s such a big adjustment the first semester with [the change in] living, school, strength training, living, overall training, and social.”

He noted that the Hawkeye Invitational would give a clearer picture of the freshman class.

Hemmingsen and Allen both believe that a big part of the success has been the closely knit nature of the team, and they believe the class, as a whole, will be very successful at the Big Ten meet.

“They love to work hard and race hard,” Long said.  “That’s exciting, and that bodes well for the future.”

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


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