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Group of four getting it done for Iowa

BY IAN MURPHY | JANUARY 28, 2015 5:00 AM

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A gambling man knows there’s no such thing as a sure win. He can get close, but there’s never a guarantee.

If that man wanted as close of a sure bet as possible, he wouldn’t need to look further than the quartet of senior Grant Betulius, junior Roman Trussov, freshman Jerzy Twarowski, and sophomore Jackson Halsmer.

That quartet has not only made up the Hawkeyes 200- and 400-medley relays for most of the season, they get it done in their individual events as well.

Betulius, Trussov, and Twarowski have all broken school records in their respective strokes, and Halsmer became the first Hawkeye swimmer under 20 seconds in the open 50 freestyle since the 2011-12 season.

“They have a real relaxed approach to things,” associate head coach Frannie Malone said. “They trust each other … and that feeds into the rest of the team.” 

For as good as they have been, Halsmer said he isn’t sure of the source of the success.

“It’s kind of weird,” Halsmer said. “Because none of us practice together.”

Halsmer is a sprint freestyler, while Betulius swims the 100 and 200 backstroke, Trussov swims those breaststroke distances, and Twarowski swims those lengths in the butterfly, meaning they do not train together at practice.

Halsmer said they take it a step further.

“We’re the quietest guys on the team,” he said. “Before the medley relays we don’t even say anything to each other,”

And of recently, they haven’t needed to. The group hit the wall first in the 400-medley relay at the Hawkeye Invitational in what would’ve been a school record time, but a false start of .01 seconds disqualified the relay. The same relay combination, despite what the team characterized as a rusty performance, scored a win after a Northwestern disqualification in the 200-medley relay on Jan. 25.

Malone, Betulius, and Halsmer credited the atmosphere around the team to the ongoing success.

“The atmosphere around the team has been different,” said Betulius, who is the No. 2 ranked 100 backstroker in the country this season according to USA swimming. “It’s been really positive, and it’s been really easy to feed off that.”

Even though they have had both individual and relay success, Betulius, who has broken two records, was quick to point credit to the rest of the team.

“It is a team sport, even though we’re individually competing.” Betulius said. “I don’t think any of us could do it on our own.”

Still, however, with an NCAA “A” cut and five school records between the quartet, their success both individually and as a group can’t be denied.

“They’re talented and it shows in the water,” Malone said.


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