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Men's swimming ready for Hawkeye Invite

BY IAN MURPHY | DECEMBER 05, 2014 5:00 AM

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It’s been 34 days since the Iowa men’s swim team had a meet. Since the last meet, on Halloween in Minnesota, Iowa football ended another regular season, Iowa wrestling hit the mats, and the Hawkeye basketball teams tipped off their seasons.

A lot can change in 34 days, but one thing that did not change was the Hawkeyes, approach to this weekend’s Hawkeye Invitational or, really, the season as a whole.

“It’s more about preparing to swim fast,” junior David Ernstsson said. “When we go up and do any races, you just try to go as fast as possible.”

It’s been that mentality all season, and it seems to be the approach now, too, which should not come as a surprise to many.

“If you swim really fast in practice, you’ll probably drop some time in races, too,” Ernstsson said.

At least a portion of the break can be blamed on not having a meet with Purdue and Ohio State the first weekend in November, as there has been in previous years. However, just because there has not been competition does not mean the Hawkeyes have put in any less work.

“It hasn’t really been time off,” coach Marc Long said. “We’ve been working really hard preparing for this [weekend’s meet] and for second semester.”

The Hawkeye Invitational will give the coaching staff a chance to see where the team is in training and the swimmers a chance to hit NCAA championship qualifying times. The swimmers will put on speed suits for the meet, and some will shave in order to hit qualifying times.

Depending on the group, the coaching staff has also tapered the swimmers, meaning they are more energized, something that was apparent at practice Wednesday.

“When you come down to a big meet, it’s all about having fun, being relaxed, and all of that kind of stuff,” Ernstsson said. “If you get a [cut] time right now, you can just hit Big Tens and have fun.”

An A cut time automatically qualifies a swimmer for the NCAA championship meet, while a B cut means a swimmer could get an invitation to the Big Dance, depending on if they fall above the invitation line.

Outside of the Big Ten championship meet, this weekend will be the best chance for swimmers to qualify for the NCAA championship meet, especially as it mimics the format used at the NCAAs.

“Suiting up is always a good mental boost,” senior Grant Betulius said.

Betulius has hit a B cut time in the 100 backstroke, and he has finished as high as 11th at the NCAA championships in past years.

Long said the team will put up its best lineup, with swimmers entering their top events.

“We’re hungry to race,” he said. “We’re expecting to see some great performances.”

Follow @IanfromIowa on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis on the Iowa men’s swimming and diving teams.


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