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Men’s swimming tops Northwestern despite “rusty” performance

BY IAN MURPHY | JANUARY 26, 2015 5:00 AM

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The Iowa men’s swimming team beat Northwestern on Jan. 24, but not in the way it would have liked.

Associate head coach Frannie Malone said the team needed to sharpen up, and Grant Betulius echoed her, saying the team was rusty, despite a four-win performance from the senior.

The general consensus was that the Hawkeyes felt off, even though they won nine of the 16 events in the pool — more than enough to put Northwestern to bed.

The biggest off spot appeared in the freestyle. Northwestern’s Jordan Wilimovsky, the No. 3 miler in the country, was a lock to win both the 1,000 and 500 freestyles, but that still left the 50, 100, and 200 for the Hawkeyes to claim.

The Hawkeyes did not win any of the three, leaving plenty of room for growth over the coming weeks.

“For me, it was kind of a frustrating day,” said sophomore Jackson Halsmer, one of Iowa’s top sprinters. “It was our first meet back in a while, and I just didn’t feel sharp.”

Halsmer said he felt off in general, not noting any specifics, and it may have been just an off day for the Hawkeyes.

He has posted faster times this season than Northwestern’s Almog Olshtein.

On Jan. 24, though, Olshtein got the better of Iowa and won both the 50 and 100 freestyle.“We had some people that were a little sluggish today, and some people that were great,” Malone said.

Betulius had some of those great swims, as did freshman Jerzy Twarowski and junior Roman Trussov. The trio combined for six individual wins, in the 100 and 200 backstroke, butterfly, and breaststroke, respectively.

“Coming off all the training we’ve been doing, it was a good team win,” Betulius said. “It’s been a great team atmosphere all season.”

The Hawkeyes had not raced a true dual meet since Oct. 31, 2014, on the road at Minnesota, and competed just once, in a relay meet in St. Petersburg, Florida, after the Hawkeye Invitational wrapped up on Dec. 7, 2014.

Rust aside, the Hawkeyes came out with the victory, securing a 2-2 Big Ten record on the season.

“We’re going to need all our cylinders clicking at once,” Malone said. “We’ve got a lot of racing coming up before the [championship season].”

Malone said the racing will undoubtedly help the Hawkeyes buff off the rust. Iowa will travel to Notre Dame for the ShamrockInvitational on Friday, and it will host Western Illinois on Feb. 6 as a final tune-up before the Big Ten meet.

But for now, the Hawkeyes will take their win and work to be sharper in the future.

“Everyone stepped up when they had to,” Betulius said. “We can use that to move forward.”


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