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Iowa men’s swimming takes down Western Illinois

BY IAN MURPHY | FEBRUARY 09, 2015 5:00 AM

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The coaches and athletes might not admit it, but it would be hard for the Hawkeyes not to look past Western Illinois.

The Leathernecks were simply overmatched. Iowa swept the meet, winning 16 of 16 events and putting many swimmers in events they likely will not swim again until this meet next season, including sprinters such as sophomore Jackson Halsmer in the 50 breaststroke and junior Charles Holliday in the 50 backstroke.

However, despite the disparity in the competition, head coach Marc Long said there are still things the Hawkeyes need to clean up before the Big Ten meet, now just 16 days away.

“We need to take care of some things,” Long said. “It was the last home meet for our seniors, there was a lot of emotion there.”

But despite a need to sharpen up, which the Hawkeyes have ample time to do, there were still fast swims on Feb. 6.

Especially noteworthy was a 19.92 split from Halsmer on the 200-freestyle relay, a big relay split he will need to repeat on the last weekend of February.

For redshirt junior Brian Donatelli, who swam his last meet of the season after a decision between himself and the coaching staff to sit out the championship season, the meet was a success.

“This year has been a huge positive,” Donatelli said. “Go out with a bang, you know?”

Donattelli ended an up and down season that saw him battle back from a broken leg with a bang, winning the 100 freestyle in 46.03. Although he won’t be competing, Donatelli’s said he will be behind his teammates for the remainder of the year.

“I know these guys are going to rock it at Big Tens and NCAAs,” Donatelli said. “I’m excited to see them race fast.”

For much of the team, the championship portion of the season is rapidly approaching, and some of the Hawkeyes were indeed looking past Western Illinois.

“It was a good tune up with conference coming up right around the corner,” said Grant Betulius. “It’s hard to say, but it does come down to that one meet.”

And as the results and score showed, the Hawkeyes had every reason to peek ahead to the end of February. A 171-47 final score was reason enough.

With what Long called the fastest conference meet in the country just two weeks away, and with the big stage and bright lights of the NCAA championships at the end of March, there are reasons to be optimistic for the Hawkeyes season.

“It’s really about preparation,” Long said. “We’ve got some things to sharpen up and then it’s all about … fast racing.”

Follow @IanFromIowa for news, updates and analysis from the Iowa swimming team.


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