Dec. 20, 2012
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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — For the last four days, the University of Iowa swimming and diving team has tested its mettle in the training hub of Team USA.
The Hawkeyes left for Colorado Springs, Colo., on Dec. 15 and checked into the United States Olympic Training Center on Sunday. The team has been attending seminars and utilizing the same world-class facilities as some of the best athletes in the world.
“It’s an eye-opening experience, seeing where Olympians have trained,” said sophomore Grant Betulius. “We’ve had the chance to have people talk to us about nutrition, strength training, and stroke technique. They have so many tools they can use, and it’s awesome to be able to come here as a collegiate athlete and learn from this experience.”
The team is lodging on the campus of the training center, and will do so until Friday when it returns to Iowa City.
“It helps being in this environment,” said UI head coach Marc Long. “You’re out here training where the best in the world are researched and trained. The facility also has one of the best sports-related cafeterias in the world.
“All these things will benefit us down the road, and it gives our athletes an opportunity to treat themselves like elite athletes.”
“It’s an eye-opening experience, seeing where Olympians have trained. We’ve had the chance to have people talk to us about nutrition, strength training, and stroke technique. They have so many tools they can use, and it’s awesome to be able to come here as a collegiate athlete and learn from this experience.”
UI sophomore Grant Betulius
Long has looked into the prospects of attending the U.S. Olympic Training Center in the past. In previous years, the team went on training trips to different locations around the country solely to train.
“You have to apply and get accepted to be able to come out here to train,” said Long. “It’s exciting with what is happening, not only with swimming, but quite a few other sports are here as well. We get to interact with those athletes in this environment.”
Long says being at the U.S. Olympic Training Center is more beneficial because his team is exposed to a lot more than just training. During the course of the week, the Hawkeyes have been able to utilize state-of-the-art equipment to analyze different aspects of the sport.
“This is where a lot of the research on our sport happens, so they have experts in our field,” said Long. “Part of being out here is utilizing their video equipment. It focuses a lot on turns and starts, and they analyze things like that.”
Betulius says it is beneficial to study the strokes of past Olympians, and he’ll use what he learned in races moving forward.
“We were able to analyze their stroke techniques, whether it was starts or turns or how wide you place your feet on the wall,” said Betulius. “You can really focus on the little things in your own races and use what you learned here to apply to your own races.”
After adjusting to the altitude — Colorado Springs is at an elevation of 6,035 feet above sea level — the Hawkeyes competed in a double dual Monday where both the men’s and women’s teams posted a pair of victories over Colorado College and Austin College.
“This has been an outstanding experience for our program,” said Long. “We can use this experience to move forward and prepare for our championship seasons in February and March. This is a valuable resource for our student-athletes to be in this environment and learn the training skills of elite athletes.”
The Hawkeyes return to action Jan. 19 with the men’s team heading to Bloomington, Ind., for duals against nationally-ranked Indiana and Ohio State. The women’s squad faces Illinois in Champaign beginning at 11 a.m. (CT).