2004-05 Season Outlook

October 18, 2004

The University of Iowa men’s swimming and diving team looks to continue its climb to the top with an experienced squad returning from a strong 2003-04 season. With a talented returning group and a great crop of newcomers, the Hawkeyes are looking to be much improved.

Head Coach John Davey returns for his seventh season with the Hawkeyes. His 18-33 career mark includes last year’s 8-4 dual record, which was his first dual winning record at Iowa. Robert Pinter joins the staff as an assistant coach. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1994 after earning all-America honors in the 200 butterfly and 500 freestyle for the Badgers, and has been coaching club swimming in Wisconsin for the last 10 years. Diving Coach Bob Rydze returns for his 30th season with the Hawkeyes.

Iowa returns 10 of the 15 top individual swimming performances from 2003-04, as well as two legs of the school-record setting 200 medley relay. Gone from the squad are divers Timo Klami and Jason Singer, and swimmers Gregg Gazvoda, David Mazur, Andrei Prada, Pete Ranstead, Jason Snider and Kevin Velleca. Klami was an all-American on the three-meter board last season after winning the Big Ten title in that event in 2003. Velleca led the team in the 50 and 100 backstroke, while Prada led Iowa in the 100 breaststroke, Ranstead led in the 50 freestyle and Gazvoda led in the 500 freestyle. All four swam on at least one team-leading relay, with Ranstead swimming on four of the five. Velleca and Ranstead swam the lead and anchor legs of the school-record setting 200 medley relay.

Sophomore Tomasz Dziedzic

Davey is depending on strong leadership from several returnees this season. Leading the way will be team co-captains Natan Pheil and Eric Hahn.

“Pheil and Hahn complement each other well as far as leadership is concerned,” said Davey. “Pheil is this year’s vice-president of the Iowa Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (ISAAC). He pays very close attention to detail and is a meticulous planner. Hahn is a more verbal and emotional leader. He is quite intense and an excellent motivator.”

The sophomore duo of Tomasz Dziedzic and Mariusz Muras returns from stellar freshmen campaign. Dziedzic received the team’s Armbruster Swimming MVP award after leading the team in four individual events and swimming on four of the five team-leading relays, including the school-record setting 200 medley relay. Muras led the team in the 200 butterfly and recorded Iowa’s highest swimming individual finish at the Big Ten Championships last season, placing fifth in the 200 butterfly.

Sophomore Mariusz Muras

“Tomasz had a great first year with us,” said Davey. “I knew that he was a talented swimmer, and I was very pleased with his performances as a freshman. However, I feel this year was just the tip of the iceberg for him. I expect him to have another break-out year at the Big Ten Championships and qualify for the NCAA Championships.”

“Mariusz swam extremely well for us as a freshman,” said Davey. “His finish at Big Ten Championships was very impressive for his first time competing at the meet, and with the experience he gained I look for him to improve his placing in the 200 butterfly and also become more of a factor in the 100 butterfly.”

Pheil, along with fellow seniors Nate Billups, Alex Boyce, Andrei Ciurca, Joe Lureau, Pheil, Elliot Ptasnik, Bryan Rowland and Cal Shelangoski comprise Iowa’s largest class and will be competing in their final season at Iowa. Ciurca led the team in the 200 backstroke and swam on the team-leading 400 medley relay last year, while Ptasnik led Iowa in the 200 breaststroke. Shelangoski swam the second leg on Iowa’s school-record setting 200 medley relay.

Senior Andrei Ciurca

Iowa’s junior class of Hahn, Cameron Dye, Cody Hackney, Trevor Haley, Konrad Kazmierczak and Seth Tweedy will also provide strength and leadership after two solid seasons with the Hawkeyes. Dye led the team in the 1,000 and 1,650 freestyle events and Haley led in the 400 IM. Both swam on the team-leading 800 freestyle relay. Kazmierczak also swam on the team-leading 400 freestyle relay.

Davey is looking for the sophomore class of Dziedzic, Muras, Paul Divan, Jeff Kubat and Steven Medaglia to increase their contributions to the team after their first season with the Hawkeyes. Davey is also excited about Iowa’s talented class of newcomers. Incoming freshmen include Dragos Agache from Constanta, Romania, Cade Ashby from Austin, TX, Nathan Keeling from Baraboo, WI, and Andrej Lenert from Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

The Hawkeyes met several of their goals last season, and look to improve upon that this year.

“Last season we one of our goals was improving our dual meet record,” said Davey. “I think we took great strides finishing 8-4, and came very close to upsetting perennial powers Indiana and Minnesota. We were disappointed with our finish at the Big Ten Championships and would like to improve and finish much higher this year. We would also like to make more of an impact at the national level, qualifying more individuals to the NCAA Championships.”

Senior Cal Shelangoski