Pushing to Be the Best

Sep 3, 2013

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 — Following a breakout sophomore season, University of Iowa men’s swimmer Grant Betulius doesn’t want to hold himself back as he looks for more in 2014.

“I don’t set too many goals for myself,” said Betulius, a 2013 NCAA qualifier. “I don’t want those goals to limit what I can do.”

As a sophomore, Betulius had a stellar 2012-13 campaign, capped off with a trip to Indianapolis for the 2013 NCAA Championships. The Naperville, Ill., native garnered honorable mention All-America honors in three events, placing 13th in the 100 backstroke, and was the lead leg of the 200 and 400 medley relays that placed 16th and 13th, respectively.

Betulius’ success at the NCAA Championships was no fluke. Throughout the course of the dual meet season, he was one of the team’s top performers. Betulius was a part of five relays and one individual event that swam season’s best times, with two of the relays, the 200 and 400 medley relays, posting school records.

“I don’t set too many goals for myself. I don’t want those goals to limit what I can do.”
UI junior Grant Betulius

UI head coach Marc Long feels like he has only seen the beginning of what Betulius can really do.

“He has really matured confidence-wise and in a competitive nature and is just scratching the surface of his potential,” said Long. “He is getting stronger, working harder, and is very driven. I think he is one of the premier swimmers not only in our conference, but the NCAA.”

This is high praise from Long, who feels the Big Ten is one of the toughest conferences in the country.

“The Big Ten could have as many as nine teams in the top 25 in the dual meet polls as early as this fall,” said Long. “I don’t know if it’s the toughest (conference), but it’s one of them, and we aren’t shying away from it. It will help prepare us for the end of the year and championship season.”

The season never ends for Betulius, as he spent the summer competing in meets across the country against top talent. Betulius swam in the Phillips 66 National Championships and World Championships in Indianapolis in June, reaching the finals in the 50-meter backstroke

Betulius agrees with Long that competing against top talent will only help him get better.

“Where the sport is going itself, everyone continues to get faster,” said Betulius. “It opens my eyes to the type of training and swimming I need to do, that everyone needs to do, to keep up with everyone else.”

Long is excited for the start of the 2013-14 campaign.

“(We are) challenging the program to get better, challenging these athletes to get better,” he said. “It’s important, and we want everybody scoring in the NCAAs. That’s the way they need to be training and thinking, NCAAs and beyond.”

Betulius had his first taste of the NCAAs last year, and he is motivated and driven to get back there a second time in 2014.