IOWA CITY, IA –
As Head Coach Marc Long enters his third season leading the men and women’s combined swimming program, he looks for continued progress.
“We set a lot of career bests this year, and we want to continue to build on that and take our program to the next level. We are excited about the direction the program is headed and the commitment that has been made with the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center.”
Long led the men to their first Big Ten win since 2003 and their first Big Ten road win since 2000 when they defeated Michigan State in East Lansing. The men finished the season at 5-6 (1-3 Big Ten), while the women finished with a 6-6 record (0-4 Big Ten).
Long is assisted by fourth year coaches Frannie DeBord, Robert Pinter and second year coach, Kirk Hampleman.
Here is an event-by-event look at the 2007-08 Hawkeyes.
Sophomore Margie Chamberlin
As the birthplace of the butterfly, the University of Iowa is looking to several returnees and newcomers to make this a strong event.
The women’s butterfly will be anchored by sophomores Margie Chamberlin and Laura Mozdzen, and freshman Molly Houlton. Chamberlin led the team in the 100 (55.96) and 200 (2:02.24), with those respective times ranking fourth and third in school history. She recorded her best time in the 200 fly at the Big Ten Championships, which was good for 15th and an NCAA `B’ time. She recorded three victories in the 100 and four in the 200, along with 17 top-five finishes last season.
Mozdzen was second on the team in both the 100 (56.30) and 200 (2:02.90), which rank seventh and fourth, respectively, in school history. Houlton’s best time in the 100 fly is 56.23. Sophomore Katie Michelau will add depth.
Nate Keeling returns for his senior season after leading the team in both the 100 (48.89) and 200 (1:48.74), and placing 13th in the 200 at the Big Ten Championships. His time of 1:48.74 in the 200 ranks ninth on Iowa’s all-time list. Junior James Dragon and sophomore Seth Wessels will provide significant depth. Dragon is second on the team in both the 100 (49.48) and 200 (1:52.67) and Wessels follows at third in the 100 (50.62) and 200 (1:53.95). Incoming freshmen will have the opportunity to make an impact right from the start. Richard Salhus boast a converted 49.62 in the 100 fly and Iowa state champion Cameron Lennon swam a 50.5.
Freshman Molly Houlton will make an immediate impact as her best times of 55.62 (converted) in the 100 and 1:58.35 in the 200 lead the team.
Senior Nathan Keeling
Junior Alison Gschwend led Iowa both events last season. Her best 200 time (2:02.23) ranks fourth in school history and her collegiate-best 56.53 in the 100 ranks third. She was named Big Ten Swimmer of the Week after sweeping the 100 and 200 against Iowa State. She won the 100 three times and the 200 twice last season.
“Alison scored points for us at Big Tens and I think she’s ready to take her swims to the next level,” said Long.
Another major contributor will be freshman Katarina Tour, who possesses a fast 50 back. Junior Leah Schwartz, sophomores Hilary Leigh and Nicki Wex and freshman Amanda Johnson will add depth.
Sophomore Wil Whaley will lead the men in the backstroke. As a freshman, Whaley led the team in the 100 (50.30) and 200 (1:47.66), with his 200 time ranking fourth on Iowa’s all-time list. He won the 200 at Michigan State and recorded eight runners-up. He enters his sophomore year with U.S. Olympic Traisl cuts. Senior Andrej Lenert was second on the team in the 100 (51.72) and 200 (1:50.30) and notched 11 top-five finishes. Incoming freshman Max Dittmer will add strength to the lineup, after recording times of 23.6 seconds in the 50 and 50.86 in the 100 back during his senior year of high school.
Junior Alison Gschwend
Leading the Hawkeyes will be NCAA qualifier Dragos Agache, who set collegiate bests and school records while recording `B’ times in the 100 (53.77) and 200 (1:58.40). Agache hit these marks at the Big Ten Championships, where he placed third in the 100 and sixth in the 200. He won the 100 four times, the 200 three times and recorded 19 top-five finishes.
Sophomore Matt Ryan will play an important role behind Agache. Ryan was third on the team in both the 100 (57.47) and 200 (2:07.12), while recording eight top-five finishes in 2006-07.
“We had some good time drops from Matt and I look for him to be a big contributor next year,” Long said.
Freshman Alex Dragon will add solid depth to the 100 (57.86) and 200 (2:06.20), along with Sean Hagen and Josh Peterson adding speed.
Tour will add speed for the women in the 100 (1:02.86). Sophomore Julie Feingold led the team in the 100 (1:05.23) and the 200 (2:22.03) last season. Her time in the 100 ranks ninth on Iowa’s all-time list. Feingold recorded seven runners-up and 22 top-five finishes on the season. Fellow sophomore Stacia Johns will provide some depth behind Feingold. Johns was third on the team in the 100 (1:07.77) and 200 (2:27.37), and notched eight top-five finishes. Freshman Rachel Lee joins the team with times of 1:07.97 in the 100 and 2:24.69 in the 200.
Sophomore Christine Kuczek had a major impact as a freshman, leading the team in the 50 (23.35), 100 (50.74) and 200 (1:50.98). She placed 12th in the 100 and 16th in the 50 at the Big Ten meet. Kuczek recorded NCAA `B’ times in the 50 and 100 free, and cracked Iowa’s all-time list in the 50 (fifth), 100 (second) and 200 (eighth).
Sophomore Christine Kuczek
“Christine was a big contributor for us, scoring in two Big Ten individual events. We look for her to improve and contribute at the NCAA Championships this season,” said Long.
Adding depth to the Hawkeye sprints will be sophomore Julie deBruin and senior Mindy Schulte. DeBruin’s best 50 (23.59) ranks ninth on Iowa’s all-time list, while Schulte swam a 23.62 in that event. Freshman Caitlin Carlyle will also be an impact swimmer for the Hawkeyes in the 50 (24.6) and 100 (52.6).
Junior Ashley Dell will lead Iowa’s distance freestyle, after leading the team last year in the 500 (4:59.59), 1,000 (10:16.48) and 1,650 (17:12.87). Her time in the 500 is a collegiate best and ranks 10th on Iowa’s all time list. She won the 1,000 four times and the 500 twice. Juniors Heather Hall and Emily Hoefler, and sophomore Ashley Lawler will add depth to the Hawkeye distance freestyle.
Newcomers Salhus and Conor Dwyer will make an immediate impact in the sprint freestyle events for Iowa. Salhus boasts converted times of 20.73 in the 50, 45.45 in the 100 and 1:38.64 in the 200, while Dwyer posted converted times of 45.41 in the 100 and 1:37.90 in the 200.
Sophomores Brad Jones, Jake Moore and Brian Farris will also contribute in the sprint freestyle. Jones led Iowa in the 50 and was third in the 100 last season. He won the 50 against Truman State and Western Illinois, and was runner-up against Ohio State, along with 10 top-five finishes. Farris led the Hawkeyes in the 200, and will add significant depth in the distance events. He finished his freshman campaign second on the team in the 500, 1,000 and 1,650.
Junior Nick Divan is the top returning distance swimmer for the Iowa men. Divan led the team in the 500 (4:29.30), 1,000 (9:27.84) and 1,650 (15:42.67), and his time in the 1,650 ranks ninth on Iowa’s all-time top performers list. Sophomore Tyler Verink, who specializes in the distance events, plans to build off the success of his freshman year.
Newcomers Houlton and Tour bring ample talent to the women’s IM corps. Houlton’s best swims are 2:02.57 in the 200 IM and 4:12.43 in the 400, while Tour boasts a converted 2:04.14 in the 200.
Feingold is the top returning Hawkeye in the IM, after leading the team in the 200 (2:07.50) and 400 (4:29.39) last year. Her 400 time tied her for ninth in school history. She won the 400 vs. Truman State, and was runner-up in the 200 at Minnesota and the 400 vs. Louisville.
Mozdzen, Gschwend, Dell and newcomer Kelsey Neubauer will strengthen the Hawkeye IM. Mozdzen was second on the team in the 200 (2:08.59), with Gschwend shortly behind her (2:08.71), and Dell was third on the team in the 400 (4:41.50).
Junior Nick Divan
The Hawkeye men return their top two IM swimmers in James Dragon and Divan. Dragon led Iowa in the 200 (1:51.87) and Divan had the season best in the 400 (3:59.12), with Dragon second in the 400. Both Dragon and Divan set collegiate bests in both the 200 and 400. Wessels was second on the team in the 200 (1:52.47) and third in the 400, and was runner-up in the 200 at Minnesota and the 400 vs. Truman State. Rookie Alex Dragon will compete on a high level for the Hawkeyes in the IM events. Dragon was the Iowa state champion in the 200 and is skilled in the 400 as well.
Leading the Hawkeye divers will be sophomores Deidre Freeman and Michael Gilligan. Freeman led the women’s squad in both the one- and three-meter boards. She scored a 245.17 against Iowa State on the one-meter and a 276.45 at home against Western Illinois. Gilligan led the men’s team on the platform where he set a school-record 327.60 at the Big Ten Championships. Fellow sophomore Frank Van Dijkhuizen will return to action after missing the spring semester. Van Dijkhuizen led the Hawkeyes on the one-meter with 312.68 and the three-meter with 337.95. He was also named Big Ten Diver of the Week after winning both the one-meter (283.00) and the three-meter (322.90) in the season opening meet against Wisconsin and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Freshman Veronica Rydze will make a big impact on the boards this year. She was the Iowa state champion during her senior year, and is an outstanding addition to the Hawkeyes after just barely missing the state record on the one-meter board.