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Hawkeye swimmers in seventh after day one

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

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The Hawkeye swimmers got off to a strong start on the first day of the Big Ten championships, notching a third-place finish in the 200-medley relay.

Senior Grant Betulius opened up the relay for the Hawkeyes with a 21.59 backstroke split, officially the second fastest in the field, and from there, the other members of the relay, junior Roman Trussov, freshman Jerzy Twarowski, and sophomore Jackson Halsmer answered the call. 

The four finished in 1:25.53 to set a school record and score an NCAA “A” cut, meaning they are guaranteed a spot in the NCAA championships.

“The medley relay was definitely a good time,” Betulius said. “After that, I think we have a good chance in the rest of the meet.”

The medley was a good time for more than one reason. Because the Hawkeyes got an A cut, and they already have a B cut in the 400, the 400-medley relay will also swim at the NCAA meet, regardless of the outcome of the 400 at the Big Tens.

However, Betulius said, he thinks the 200 can be faster, and head coach Marc Long agrees.

“To have that medley kick off with an A cut is a great time,” Long said. “But I know that relay can be sharper.”

As good as the Hawkeyes were in the 200-medley relay, Iowa’s weakness in the mid-distance group proved to be a hiccup; the 800-freestyle relay slipped to ninth, and Iowa fell to seventh in the team rankings, where they sit heading into Day Two.

However, the Hawkeyes are only 8 points out of third place, where Minnesota and Indiana are tied with 58 points each.

“As a coach, it’s had to say that you’re hoping to get seventh or eighth,” Long said. “We got ninth [in the 800 relay], not really a disappointment, because we kind of knew how we’d do on that relay.”

Still however, there were positives from the 800 relay. Senior Chris Freeman led off the relay with a personal record. Junior David Ernstsson, who had shoulder problems last season, nearly hit a personal best split.

With Betulius and Twarowski doubling up for their second swims of the evening, the Hawkeyes hit the wall in 6:29.57.

“What [Ernstsson] did was great,” Long said. “We knew that was a bit of stretch on that relay.”

Long also complimented Betulius. Ernstsson said he felt good in the water, and he believes the team is in good shape.

“We’re looking good,” he said. “Even if we didn’t do as well as we hoped in the 800-free relay, we still had really good effort and some really good times individually.”

Moving forward, the individual events will begin today, which will give more swimmers an opportunity to see the pool.

“Most people don’t swim tonight,” Long said. “Most people are watching, and they’re anxious, and they’re excited to swim tomorrow.”

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


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