Iowa might not have finished the way it would have liked in its A final swims tonight, but despite the sluggish swims, the Hawkeyes moved up to eighth in the standings.
Three members of Iowa’s 400 medley relay each swam an A final tonight, although none of the three had swims they were satisfied with.
All three swimmers, freshman Jerzy Twarowski, junior Roman Trussov, and senior Grant Betulius each added time from their finals, and each finished from seventh in their respective events, all three adding time from their prelim swims.
“It gives me a little chip on my shoulder,” Betulius said after his 100 backstroke. “I’ll definitely use this as motivation.”
“Mid-season I was 45.5 [in the 100 backstroke], I’d like to be there again, I know I can be there again.”
Betulius, who admitted some things needed fine tuning, dropped to seventh in the finals after entering as the number three seed.
Shane Ryan of Penn State won the 100 backstroke and broke Betulius’ pool record, which could make the loss sting just a little bit more.
However, Betulius, with his 45.56 performance at December’s Hawkeye Invite, an NCAA A cut, already has a guaranteed chance to swim at the NCAAs.
“I had to remind him . . . he’s in to NCAAs,” Long said. “He had a goal of winning this and he’s been swimming so well all year he had a little extra pressure on.”
This was the first home loss in the 100 backstroke for Betulius this season.
In the 100 fly, Twarowski added a few tenths, but improved one spot from his eighth place seed to finish seventh.
Trussov was seeded fifth entering the 100 breaststroke A final after breaking the school record in the morning session, although he said he suffered a shoulder injury in the prelims.
“I’m happy overall with my swim,” He said. “I expected to go worse.”
That seems to be a theme for the Hawkeyes. Long called the meet a strange one, but the Hawkeyes will still send several swimmers to the NCAA championships.
Long said the team could have its biggest group at the NCAA championships in the last several years, despite the outcome of the Big Ten Championship meet.
“I think it’s important to look within this group and see all the night swims we have,” Long said. “We might have the biggest group we’ve had at NCAA’s since Glenn Patton [the coach of the 1982 Iowa Big Ten Championship Team] was here.”
That’s a step forward for the Hawkeyes, who will host the NCAA championships in March, but still not where they would like to be going into final day.
“We had a few really solid swims, maybe not what we hoped,” Betulius said.
Despite the finals performance, the Hawkeyes enter day three trailing Penn State by 17.5 points, with Twarowski’s best event, the 200 butterfly, platform diving, where Iowa divers are strongest, still to go.
“I’m proud of the group tonight and their racing.” Long said. “We had the people there in the scoring positions, just maybe not as high as we wanted them.”