Dec. 5, 2014
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Senior Grant Betulius posted an NCAA “A” cut time, a school record, and a Campus Recreation and Wellness Center pool record to highlight the opening day of the Hawkeye Invitational for the University of Iowa men’s swimming and diving team.
“It was a good day; we got an NCAA `A’ cut for Grant Betulius,” said UI head coach Marc Long. “Overall we had some great swims. We’re looking forward to getting back in the pool tomorrow with some more swims and dives.”
Betulius, a senior from Naperville, Illinois, posted a time of 45.56 seconds to lead off the 400-medley relay in the final race of the opening night. Betulius smashed the previous record, held by Dustin Rhoads (46.33) and topped the pool record of 46.30 that has held since the 2012 Big Ten Championships.
“You’ve gotta remember, getting an `A’ cut in an individual event is pretty incredible,” said Long. Only a handful of the people in the country can do that and it’s pretty remarkable that he accomplished that.”
Betulius is the first Hawkeye to qualify for the NCAA Championships, which will be held from March 26-28 in Iowa City.
The Hawkeyes also had a strong showing in the prelims for the 50 free event. During the qualifying session, Iowa placed seven Hawkeyes into the eight-man `A’ final. Sophomore Jackson Halsmer led the group swimming to an NCAA `B’ cut time of 19.91 — the seventh-fastest time in UI history. Betulius was close behind posting a third-place finish with a season-best time of 20.36. Jackson Allen finished fourth coming in at 20.41.
In the 200 IM, senior Chris Freeman kept the momentum rolling with a first-place finish recording an NCAA `B’ cut time of 1:49.03.
“It went great, I was very pleased to get two men into the finals,” said UI diving coach Todd Waikel. “That’s the first step — getting into the finals. Once you’re there, you get the opportunity to battle again.
“When we get to finals, I want us to step up and get even better, and that’s what we did tonight. I’m very pleased with the way we battled tonight and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
The Hawkeyes are leading the invitational heading into Saturday with 249 points. Denver is second with 218.5 points followed by Notre Dame (188.5) and Milwaukee (70).
Prelims resume Saturday morning beginning at 10 a.m. (CT).