Oct. 2, 2014
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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. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — There is a different level of enthusiasm on the pool deck at the University of Iowa’s Campus Recreation and Wellness Center, and that is exciting for UI head coach Marc Long.
“There is a great energy with these teams, both swimming and in the diving well,” Long said Wednesday while addressing media at the team’s media day. “It’s a developing situation with young talent that is emerging, and that’s exciting. If we get them in the right situation, we’re going to have some neat things happen.”
The Hawkeyes return a combined 40 letterwinners — 20 on both the men’s and women’s teams — in 2014-15, while also welcoming 20 newcomers. Thirty-one of the competitors on the roster are underclassmen.
“This freshmen class has brought an exciting energy for the program, and it’s motivating for the staff,” said Long. “You add that to some of the returnees we have, Grant Betulius, Becky Stoughton, our divers, and on and on, and it’s going to be an exciting year.”
Betulius returns for the men’s program two seasons removed from earning honorable mention All-America honors in three events at the 2013 NCAA Championships, and junior Roman Trussov is back as a top-level breaststroker. He qualified for the NCAAs as a freshman.
“There is a great energy with these teams, both swimming and in the diving well. It’s a developing situation with young talent that is emerging, and that’s exciting. If we get them in the right situation, we’re going to have some neat things happen.”
UI head coach Marc Long
On the women’s side, senior Becky Stoughton, junior Olivia Kabacinski, and sophomore Emma Sougstad return after leading the team in eight individual events a season ago. The Hawkeyes have their top performers back in 10-of-14 swimming events, all three diving competitions, and four top swimmers in relays.
The two pinnacle meets on the men’s schedule will both be held in Iowa City with the UI hosting the Big Ten Championships from Feb. 25-28 and the NCAA Championships from March 26-28.
The Big Ten Women’s Championships will be held in Columbus, Ohio, from Feb. 18-21 and the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships will take place in Greensboro, N.C., from March 19-21.
“It doesn’t change the preparation, but it does change the excitement level,” Long said of hosting the men’s NCAAs. “This is a once-in-a-facility type event. The team is excited, but we have a lot of work to do and development that needs to happen.”
That’s the common theme with UI program — developing student-athletes from day one — and that’s a theme that is OK with Long.
“A lot of our kids come in here knowing they have to prepare better and race harder,” he said. “That gives us fuel for our fire. We’re a hungry bunch.”
The Hawkeyes begin the season Oct. 3-4, hosting Michigan and Nebraska. It’s an early test, but it will give Long and Co. an opportunity to assess the team to be able to move forward.
“We wanted to face them right off the bat,” said Long of the Wolverines, whose men’s team won the 2013 NCAA team title and finished fourth last season. “It’s a great opportunity for our team to race them in our home pool.
“It’s a measuring stick. Anytime you get defending NCAA champions and Olympians in your pool, you want to step up and race, see where we stand, and go from there.”
Friday’s competition is slated to begin at 6 p.m. (CT), while Saturday’s action will begin at 10 a.m.