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Hawkeyes finish eighth at the Big Ten championships

BY IAN MURPHY | MARCH 02, 2015 5:00 AM

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The Hawkeye men’s swimming and diving team had high hopes coming into the Big Ten championship swimming meet.

Iowa was seeded at the top of the conference in one relay, second in another, and it had swimmers in place to potentially win an individual Big Ten championship event for the first time in 15 years.

However, it didn’t shake out in the Hawkeyes’ favor, and Iowa finished eighth.

“We’re never excited to have our name up there next to eighth by a point and a half,” head coach Marc Long said.

The Hawkeyes were just a point and a half behind Penn State, which finished seventh. The top-seeded 400-medley relay dropped to fifth, and the second-seeded 200-medley relay fell to third.

That’s not to say either relay was bad. Neither relay was disqualified, and the Hawkeyes still managed to secure an NCAA A cut in both the 200 and 400.

In terms of the score, the Hawkeyes did not have the meet they had hoped for, but Long still felt there were positives to take away from the competition.

“For who we are, we had a good meet,” Long said. He estimated 13 of the 19 swims from Feb. 28’s preliminary session were best times from his swimmer, but best times do not always put points on the board.

In several instances, Iowa swimmers were seeded high in both preliminaries and finals but did not swim their best races, leaving valuable points on the table.

“Left with a little bitter taste in our mouth with basically getting touched out for that seventh-place finish,” senior Grant Betulius said. “I was personally a little bit off this weekend.”

To be fair, the Hawkeyes had several good swims and broke five school records, but many swimmers from other teams were faster and sharper than the Hawkeyes. 

Almost every pool record went down to someone not in a Hawkeye cap. Iowa was simply outmatched for most of the meet.

With the Big Tens behind them, The Hawkeyes now turn their attention to the NCAAs, where Betulius and the medley relays have guaranteed opportunities to swim in front of a home crowd for one final time this season.

“We’re going to have a solid presence there,” Betulius said. “I think getting back in the weight room, kind of feel strength again.”

For others sitting on the bubble with B cuts, such as junior Roman Trussov, who is playing the waiting game until the NCAA selection committee announces its decisions.

A B cut means a swimmer has qualified for the meet but may not be invited, depending on the cutoff times from the around the country. Trussov took fourth in the 200 breaststroke with a 1:54.57, solidly under the cutoff time from a season ago of 1:55.64

“I tried my best,” Trussov said. “I took it out as fast as I could and tried to hold it, but I think it could have gone better.”

For the most part, however, Long was happy with his team’s performance, and is ready to look ahead to the next championship meet.

“That bodes well for the program having both those relays in,” Long said. “We could have the biggest group in many, many years going to NCAA’s. We’re excited about that.”

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


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