Spartans Await Hawkeyes in Season-Opener

Oct. 17, 2012

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The University of Iowa men’s swimming and diving team opens its regular season with a dual meet at Michigan State on Friday afternoon in East Lansing, Mich. The dual will be held at McCaffree Pool at IM West beginning at 3 p.m. (CT).

The “black” squad downed the “gold” squad, 136-82, in the team’s annual Black & Gold intrasquad meet Oct. 13 inside the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center Pool. Senior Jordan Huff won three events during the competition — the 100 and 200 free and 200 free relay — and junior Manuel Belzer posted victories in the 500 and 1,000 freestyle. Freshman Roman Trussov posted the highlight of the meeting, touching the wall in 55.04 seconds in the 100 breast, the sixth fastest time in program history.

The Spartans bring an 0-1 record into Friday’s dual after falling 185-109 to Wisconsin on Sept. 28 in East Lansing. Junior Bryan Williams posted a pair of individual event titles, winning the 200-free and 100 butterfly. Pat Falconer, meanwhile, was the individual winner in the 100-free. Last weekend, Michigan State hosted its alumni meet, where it pitted former swimmers against current Spartans in select events.

Michigan State is coming off a 2011-12 season where it finished 10th at the 2012 Big Ten Championships with 113 points. The Spartans are led by ninth-year head coach Matt Gianiodis, who is in his 15th overall season with the program.

Since the 2008-09 athletic year, the UI men’s team has been dominating dual competition. The Hawkeyes have posted a 34-6 dual meet record, which includes a 10-1 mark in 2009-10, the second best record in school history. Last season, the team went 7-2 overall and 5-1 in Big Ten duals, which included a 160.5-139.5 win over Minnesota.

Freshman Roman Trussov sizzled in his Iowa debut, posting a pair of top-two finishes at the Black & Gold Intrasquad meet. Trussov won the 100 breast in 55.04 seconds, the sixth fastest time in school history and an NCAA “B” qualifying time. He also finished as the runner-up in the 200-IM in 1:53.13.

Sophomore Brian Donatelli sprinted to a victory in the 50-free, touching the wall in 21.02. The Hawkeyes are looking to reload in the sprinting corps following the graduation of All-Americans Paul Gordon and Ryan Phelan.

The men’s squad returns senior Jordan Huff and junior Gianni Sesto who earned All-America recognition last season. Huff earned honorable mention All-America honors as a part of the 400 and 800 freestyle relays, while Sesto was an honorable mention All-American in the 200, 400 and 800 free relays.

The Hawkeyes are coming off the 2011-12 season where they captured two relay titles and finished fifth at the Big Ten Championships, their highest finish in 16 years. Iowa won the relay titles in the 200 free (1:17.61) and 400 free (2:52.53) — the first Big Ten title since 1995.

Twelve Hawkeyes competed in the 2012 U.S Olympic Team Trials in Omaha, Neb. The men’s team returns eight of these qualifiers — Grant Betulius, Byron Butler, Brian Donatelli, Jordan Huff, Tyler Lentz, Andrew Marciniak, Dustin Rhoads, Gianni Sesto and Mike Vinyard. Returnee Manuel Belzer qualified internationally. Belzer competed at the German Trials. Roman Trussov, a freshman, swam in the 100 and 200 breast for his native Kazakhstan.

While most programs cite family team atmospheres, it goes a little bit further for the University of Iowa swimming and diving team. Iowa has two sets of siblings on the 2012-13 roster. Former Hawkeye All-American Paul Gordon is serving as a student assistant coach, while his sister, Haley Gordon, and brother, Jack Gordon, are UI student-athletes. Iowa also has three Weigands on the current squad in senior Patrick Weigand along with sophomore Hillary Weigand and freshman Jennifer Weigand.

Three members from the 2011-2012 men’s team were honorable mention Scholar All-Americans including returnees Byron Butler and Manuel Belzer and graduate Kyle Noser. The Scholar All-America award is presented to swimmers and divers who have maintained a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher during the semester or as their cumulative average, and those who have qualified for their respective national championship.

Marc Long is in his ninth season as head coach for the University of Iowa swimming team. It’s his eighth as head coach of the combined program. During his tenure as head coach of both programs, 54 school records have fallen and 93 Hawkeyes have provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships.

Todd Waikel is in his first season as diving coach for the Hawkeyes. Waikel replaces long time UI diving coach Bob Rydze after serving as the assistant diving coach at Indiana for seven years. Kristy Brager joins program as an assistant coach, after coaching two seasons at George Mason University. She helped lead the men’s team to a pair of runner-up finishes in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Ground was broken for the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center in October 2007. The facility opened in August 2010 and is home for the Hawkeyes. It is located at the corner of Burlington and Madison streets and cost approximately $69 million. The facility includes a 50-meter competition pool, a separate diving well, a leisure pool with lap lanes and 24,000 square feet of fitness space.

Iowa was one of the first schools in the nation to compete on a collegiate level and competed at the first NCAA Championship. From 1937 to 1960, Iowa placed in the NCAA top 10 18 times, crowning nine NCAA and 22 Big Ten champions.

The Hawkeyes return to action Nov. 2 at Minnesota. The Big Ten dual is set to begin at 5 p.m. in Minneapolis.