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Relays bother Iowa at B1G Championships

BY IAN MURPHY | MARCH 05, 2015 5:00 AM

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The Iowa medley relays will both swim again at the NCAA meet.

Both the 200- and 400-medley relays secured NCAA A cuts, meaning Iowa will swim each relay at least one more time in its home pool this season.

Even better, the Hawkeyes finished third in the 200-medley relay and fifth in the 400, a strong statement in a conference as deep in swimming as the Big Ten.

But despite their advancing, the Hawkeyes were not pleased with their swims.

“It was a great start,” head coach Marc Long said after the third-place finish in the 200. “I know that relay can be sharper and faster.”

Iowa will have to be sharper, but especially faster, to add to its hardware haul with an NCAA medal. As of Wednesday, before the Pac-12 championship meet kicked off, the Hawkeyes had the 16th-fastest time in the relay in the country.

To make the top three at the NCAA championship, the Hawkeyes need to drop almost a second and a half, which is a considerable margin for a single relay.

Senior Grant Betulius said the relay was solid and getting the school record helped the Hawkeyes build momentum.

“I thought it was definitely a good time,” Betulius said after Day 1, but for the Hawkeyes, the better relay was the 400, which came on Day 2.

The relay was seeded first going into the meet but faded to fifth. Betulius, junior Roman Trussov, freshman Jerzy Twarowski, and sophomore Jackson Halsmer still put together a relay that dropped time and set a school record at 3:08.56, but they were not happy with their performance.

“It’s mixed feelings,” Long said. “We got the A cut and the school record, but we felt like we could have gotten second.”

Michigan swam a 3:04.92 to win the relay by almost three seconds, but Iowa was just 0.76 seconds away from second-place Ohio State.

Even closer was fourth-place Wisconsin, which touched out the Hawkeyes by 0.12 seconds.

Iowa finished ninth in the 800-freestyle relay, eighth in the 200-freestyle relay, and seventh in the 400-freestyle relay. The Hawkeyes won the latter pair of relays in 2012.

None of the three above hit an NCAA B cut, meaning they will not be considered for an invitation to the championships.

However, there are positives for the Hawkeyes. The two medley relays will swim again at the NCAA championships, and those will return three of the four swimmers for another season.

The NCAA meet is the primary concern for the Hawkeyes. Trussov, who had the most impressive weekend of any Hawkeye, believes they will be even faster at the season’s final go-round.

“Everything was good,” he said. “I think we’ll be top eight in relays. I’m very excited to do that.”


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