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Murphy: Time to race for Iowa men’s swimming

BY IAN MURPHY | FEBRUARY 24, 2015 5:00 AM

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It’s time to let the dogs loose. It’s time to shift up a gear and open up the throttle, it’s time to race. It’s come to the end of the year, and we’ll see what the Iowa men’s swimming team can do.

On many occasions this season, Iowa head coach Marc Long has said the team is focused on the championship season, not dual-meet performances. Well, the championship season is here; it starts Wednesday in the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center.

Without overreacting to dual meets, Iowa finished 6-2 in duals this season. It is a team that has a chance to make a run in the championship season. It likely will not win the Big Ten, but the Hawkeyes could move up in the standings from last year’s eighth-place finish.

Plus, those two dual losses came at the hands of Minnesota and Michigan, two perennial Big Ten powers.

There are anchors to the Hawkeyes, such as senior Grant Betulius, who sits at No. 3 in the country in the 100 backstroke and did not lose the race in at home all season, or junior Roman Trussov, who took over the breaststroke duties with spectacular results.

There are record-breaking newcomers such as freshman Jerzy Twarowski, who broke the 100- and 200-butterfly school records this season.

We’ve also seen the emergence of talented sprinters such as sophomore Jackson Allen.

Iowa has a legitimate chance to crown its first relay champions, in either the 200- or 400-medley relay, since a combination of Ryan Phelan, Duncan Partridge, Jordan Huff, Giani Sesto, and Paul Gordon won the 200 and 400 relays in 2012.

The relay team of Betulius, Trussov, Twarowski, and Jackson Halsmer ranks second in the conference in the 200 and first in the 400. The wins won’t come easily, but they could happen, and they need to for Iowa to move up in the conference.

Betulius could win the 100 backstroke, too, although he will have to go up against Penn State defending champion Shane Ryan, and returning runner-up and Nittany Lion Nate Savoy, who have each been on fire the last few weeks of the regular season.

All these things are conjecture, of course, but this is what Long and his team have been training for.

Long has stressed the end of the year, because as good as Iowa has been in duals, this is the season they could move up in the conference. He also called this meet best chance for his swimmers to qualify for the NCAA championships, and he’s right.

The Hawkeyes should be at their fastest this weekend. They’ll be fully rested, shaved, and tapered, and they will be next to some of the best teams in the country.

From the start of the season, Iowa swimmers looked to the end of the season. The pieces are laid out, but now it’s time to put the puzzle together and show the end of the season is the Hawkeyes’ time to shine. It’s time to put the foot down on the gas and race.

Follow @IanfromIowa on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis on the Iowa men’s swimming and diving team and the Big Ten championships.


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