Feb. 24, 2016
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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 — Championship season begins today for the University of Iowa men’s swimming and diving team.
Iowa begins competition at the 2016 Big Ten Championships looking to improve off its eighth place team finish at the 2015 championships in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes, who had athletes qualify for the “A” final in five events and medley relays that posted top-five times, finished with 230.5 points — 1 1/2 behind Penn State.
“We want to get people — relays and individuals — qualified for the NCAA Championships,” said UI head coach Marc Long. “We want as many people in scoring position as possible and move up in the team standings in the process.”
More points are to be had in 2016 with the coaches voting through a 24 scoring meet this season. The top 16 places scored in previous years.
That means 32 points will be awarded to the individual champion and 207 points are up for grabs in the “A” finals, 118 are there for the taking in the “B” finals, and 37 points are available in the “C” final, including nine to the winner.
The top 10 relays score, including 64 to the winner and 34 to the 10th-place team.
“It’s a little bit different approach to things,” said Long of the expanded scoring. “There are a lot of points on the table in that third heat in the “C” final. We’ll have to make a few adjustments to capitalize on that.”
Iowa’s medley relays enter the championships as one of the teams to beat. The quartet of redshirt freshman Kenneth Mende, senior Roman Trussov, sophomore Jerzy Twarowski, and freshman Jack Smith have the second-best 400 time (3:10.83) and the third-best 200 time (1:26.48).
The Hawkeyes also are fourth in the 200-free relay (1:19.58), fifth in 400-free relay (2:56.37), and sixth in 800-free relay (6:39.96).
Individually, Twarowski and Trussov — a pair of returning NCAA qualifiers — are a couple of Iowa’s go-to swimmers, but they aren’t the team’s only show in town.
Twarowski has the second-fastest 100 fly time (46.97) and third-fastest 200 fly time (1:45.41) heading into the championships. Trussov is third and fourth, respectively, in the 100 breast (53.32) and 200 breast (1:56.18). Both swimmers hold school records in all four events.
“Our medley relay, Addison Boschult, Jack Smith, Roman, and JT (Twarowski) are athletes to watch,” said Long. “But we have some other people that I feel good about that are going to do well that are under the radar. They’re doing great and will put themselves in scoring position.”
Mende has the ninth-fastest time in the 100 back (47.83), Smith is in the top-12 in the 50 free (ninth, 20.14) and 100 free (44.26), and senior Jackson Allen is fifth in 100 fly (47.78) and ninth in 50 free (20.14). Junior Jackson Halsmer, a returning NCAA qualifier, is 13th in the 50 free (20.21).
Boschult was an honorable mention All-American in 2015 and he placed sixth off the platform at the Big Ten Championships.
The first finals session begins tonight from the Boilermaker Aquatics Center at 5:30 p.m. (CT). Prelims and finals start at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.