Sept. 24, 2008
IOWA CITY, IA — Head Coach Marc Long and his staff are looking toward experience veterans and some new faces to lead the 2008-09 University of Iowa swimming and diving team.
“It’s an exciting time in our program’s history as we continue the construction of the new Campus Recreation and Wellness Center (CRWC) and prepare for a successful season of training and competing,” said Long. “The future Aquatic Center is a welcomed new home for the men and women’s teams, and will provide us with a world class facility to train and compete our current and future talented swimmers and divers.”
The CRWC will include a 50-meter competition pool, a separate diving well, a leisure pool with lap lanes and 24,000 square feet of fitness space. Construction on the new facility began in the fall of 2007 and is to be completed in the fall of 2009.
Long, who is in his fifth season at Iowa and his fourth at the head of the combined program, will be assisted by Kirk Hampleman, Frannie Malone and Nathan Mundt. Malone is in her fifth season with the Hawkeyes, while Hampleman is in his third. Mundt, who joins Iowa after serving as the head men and women’s swimming coach at Western Illinois University. Diving Coach Bob Rydze, who is fresh off a trip to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing where he served as USA Diving’s Team Leader, enters his 34th season with the Hawkeyes.
“This year we return many experienced athletes and have added much anticipated depth and talent with the incoming freshman class. We’re looking forward to an impact year in the Big Ten and NCAA,” said Long.
Here is an event-by-event look at the 2008-09 Hawkeyes.
Senior Alison Gschwend led Iowa in both backstroke events a year ago. Her best 200 time (2:02.07) ranks fourth in school history and her NCAA provisional qualifying time of 55.39 in the 100 ranks second. She won the 100 twice and the 200 five times last season, in addition to placing 14th at the Big Ten Championships.
Freshmen Daniela Cubelic and Danielle Carty will provide significant backstroke depth in both events. Cubelic was a U.S. National qualifier in the 100 back (56.35-yards, 1:04.84-meters) and Carty was a Canadian National qualifier in the 50 (30.51-meters) and 100 (1:05.62-meters). Sophomore Katarina Tour, senior Leah Schwartz, and junior Hilary Leigh will add depth.
Sophomore Max Dittmer looks to lead the men in both backstroke events. As a freshman last year, Dittmer was second on the team in the 100 (51.44) and 200 (1:50.21). Sophomore Bryan Hill and freshman Duncan Partridge will contribute.
Junior Sean Hagan is coming off a strong 2007-08 campaign that saw him lead the team in both the 100 (56.41) and 200 (2:04.35). Junior Alex Dragon will back up Hagan in the 200 breast. Junior Matt Ryan and sophomore Zane Hugo will round out the breaststroke for the Hawkeyes.
Tour led the team in the 100 with an NCAA provisional qualifying 1:02.51, which is good enough for second on Iowa’s all-time list. She was also second on the team in the 200 with a time of 2:21.83, just behind junior Julie Feingold (2:20.43). Tour racked up three victories in the 100 and placed sixth at the Big Ten meet. Feingold’s best 100 time of 1:03.96 ranks fourth all-time at Iowa, while her 200 time of 2:20.43 is eighth. Junior Stacia Johns and freshman Dana Davidsen will provide depth.
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 junior Laura Mozdzen, and sophomore Katie Michelau. Mozdzen led the team in the 100 (56.49) and ranked second in the 200 (2:04.45) last season. Her collegiate best times rank seventh and fourth, respectively, in those events. Michelau will add depth boasting career best times of 56.90 in the 100 and 2:04.06 in the 200. Freshman Sophie Borchers will have an immediate impact in these events. She showed great improvement over the summer and improved her long course meter times to 1:03.03 in the 100 2:21.94 in the 200.
James Dragon returns for his senior season and sophomore Seth Wessels will provide significant depth. Dragon was second on the team in both the 100 (49.48) and 200 (1:52.67), and Wessels follows at third (50.62, 1:53.95). Newcomers Paul Gordon, Dan Zabler and Brian Tremml look to take Iowa’s butterfly to a new level. Zabler, who was a six-time Division II all-American at the University of North Dakota, specializes in the 200 fly (1:48.75) and will also swim the 100 (50.15). Gordon will also swim both events, posting best times of 51.76 (short course yards) and 57.43 (long course meters) in the 100 and 1:53.71 in the 200. Tremml will add depth in the 200 (1:53.21-yards, 2:06.54-meters).
Sophomore Christine Kuczek led the team as a sophomore, setting a school record in the 100 (50.55) and as a part of both freestyle relays. She also led the team in the 200 (1:50.50) which ranks seventh all-time and has a 50 time (23.35) that ranks sixth. She also placed 11th in the 100 at the Big Ten Championships.
Junior Julie deBruin is primed for continued success after leading the team in the 50 (23.18) last season, which ranks second in school history and scored her a 15th place finish at the Big Ten meet. Kuczek, deBruin, Gschwend and Tour comprised the school-record setting 200 (1:32.95) and 400 free (3:22.52) relays last season, and all four return.
Freshman Daniela Cubelic will make an immediate impact in the 100 (51.32) and 200 (1:50.55). Tour continues her versatility and will add depth at the 100. Filling out the sprinters will be junior Caitie Polz, and sophomores Caitlin Carlyle and Verity Hicks.
Senior Ashley Dell lead the team in the 500 (4:53.69), 1,000 (10:14.21) and 1,650 (16:45.29) last year. Both her 500 and 1,650 times were NCAA provisional qualifying marks and rank her fifth all-time at Iowa. Sophomore Verity Hicks represented her native New Zealand at the 2008 Oceania Games, and posted collegiate bests in the 100 (52.32), 200 (1:51.94) and 500 free (4:59.10) races. Junior Ashley Lawler and sophomore Kelsie Neubauer will add depth in the middle distance and distance events.
Sophomores Richard Salhus and Conor Dwyer hope to build off of their stellar freshman seasons in the sprint freestyle events. Dwyer earned team MVP honors after leading the team in the 100 (44.66), 200 (1:36.44) and 500 (4:27.21). He scored in four relays and one individual event at the Big Ten meet, claimed 10 season victories and boasted NCAA provisional qualifying times in the 200 and 500. Salhus was named Big Ten Swimmer of the Week following the Florida International Invite and ranks second on the team in both the 50 (20.96) and 100 (45.84). Freshmen Ryan Phelan, Partridge and Gordon will make waves in the freestyle for the Hawkeyes. Phelan is the Iowa state champion in the 50 free (20.75-yards, 23.4-meters) and has a solid 100 (46.06). Partridge possesses great speed as well in the 50 (20.5-yards, 23.68-meters) and 100 (46.29-yards). Gordon who will be swimming many events for the Hawks has a great 200 (1:40.54-yards, 1:52.82-meters) and 500 free (4:33.19). Sophomore Sean Hagan led the team in the 50 with a time of 20.85 last season. Senior Andy Miner will contribute greatly in the 200 free (1:39.67-yards, 1:55.53-meters).
Juniors Brad Jones, Jake Moore, and Brian Farris, sophomore Rob Adams, and newcomers Zabler and Wisconsin state champion Tommy Radtke will contribute in the sprint and middle distances. Farris led the team in both the 1,000 (9:38.28) and 1,650 (15:54.33) last season. Adams was right behind him in both events (1,000-9:53.26; 1,650-16:09.12). The group will be bolstered by the return of junior Nick Divan who redshirted last year and competed in the Olympic Trials this summer. In 2006-07, Divan led the team in the 500 (4:29.30), 1,000 (9:27.84) and 1,650 (15:42.67), and his best time in the 1,650 ranks ninth in school history.
Tour and Feingold are the top returning IM swimmers for the Hawkeyes after leading the team in the 200 (2:03.72) and 400 (4:34.81), respectively, last season. Tour’s 200 time provisionally qualified her for the NCAA Championships and is good enough for third all-time at Iowa.
Along with leading the team in the 400, Feingold is second on the team in the 200. Gschwend, Mozdzen and Neubauer will strengthen the Hawkeye IM. All three turned in strong performances in the 200 last year, while Neubauer backed up Feingold in the 400.
Gordon will make an instant impact for the Hawkeyes in the IM. He was the 2007 U.S. National Junior team member, and will swim the 200 (2:07.01-meters) and the 400 (4:00.44-yards, 4:34.65-meters).
The Hawkeye men return their top two IM swimmers in sophomores Alex Dragon (400-4:03.79) and Hagan (200-1:52.27). Divan, who led Iowa in the 400 in 2006-07, also returns from his redshirt season. Providing depth will be Wessels and James Dragon.
The Hawkeye diving team is looking to build off the success they saw in the 2007-08 campaign. Junior Frank VanDijkhuizen is coming off a season that earned him Big Ten Diver of the Week honors on three occasions and collegiate-bests that rank him fourth on Iowa’s all-time top performers list in both the one-meter (333.60) and three-meter (359.20) events. VanDijkhuizen gathered six victories and four runner-up finishes en route to being awarded the team diving MVP award. Junior Michael Gilligan is a talented back-up and capable of scoring big points after posting one victory and 11 top-five finishes last year. Gilligan is also Iowa’s only platform diver and holds the school record with a mark of 327.60.
The women will be led by junior Deidre Freeman. She led Iowa on both the one and three-meter boards with scores of 277.05 and 295.85, and placed 15th at the 2008 U.S. National meet. Seniors Aimee Moylan and Meghan Sievertsen, and sophomore Veronica Rydze round out the Hawkeye diving team after churning out several top finishes last year.