Iowa’s srecruiting season didn’t start off great in the fall, after a top distance recruit changed her committment from the Hawkeyes to Big Ten rivals Michigan.
But they more than made up for that with a huge spring class. The latest addition on the women’s side is Olivia Kabacinski from La Porte, Indiana. She is a 10-time individual All-American and a three-time Indiana State Champion.
Kabacinski hails from Chesterton High School and the Duneland Swim Club, both of which rose to fame a few years ago when current Michigan sophomore Kyle Whitaker broke the National High School Record in the 200 IM as a junior and senior.
Kabacinski is a top-5 recruit out of Indiana, and will come to campus with bests of 23.0 in the 50 free and 49.9 in the 100 free from this spring. She’s versatile enough to step up into the 200 free with a 1:49.07, swum as a sophomore, and even the 500 with a 4:53.03.
The Hawkeyes didn’t have anybody that fast in the 50 or 100 last season, and on top of that graduated their best sprinter. In the 200, she’ll join with sophomore-to-be Becky Stoughton to make half of a killer 800 free relay.
Depending on how the coaches choose to develop her, she’s also a very good 100 breaststroker (1:03.7) and 200 IM’er (2:03.94).
They also bring in Maggie Hofstadter from Irvine California (a 51.7 100 freestyler); Allie Orvis from nearby Decorah who is a 2:04.9 State Champion in the 200 IM; and Jennifer Weigand, a 52.99 100 freestyler who has a brother and her sister already on the team.
The men went even crazier in the second semester; in addition to the signings of Quillan Oak and Andrew Parker, the Hawkeyes used money freed up by a big graduating class to add a total of 13 men to their roster.
It starts with two great international swimmers – David Ernstsson from Sweden and Roma Trussov from Kazakhstan. Ernsston is a sprint freestyler, which is key because that’s how they built their program to respectability in the Big Ten last season. In short course meters, he has bests of 22.6 in the 50 and 48.9 in the 100, which convert to 20.3 and 43.8 in yards. He’s also got a 54.58 100 fly in short course meters.
That will be the piece that Iowa will build their relays around in the future.
Trussov comes from a little bit more off-the-beaten-path, as he hails from Kazakhstan, which actually has one of the better swimming programs in Asia despite flying under-the-radar.
Trussov could be a huge piece of this Iowa team as it looks to expand it’s versatility and depth. He currently ranks in the top 100 in the world in both the 50 and 100 breaststrokes, with a long course time of 1:01.81 already this year. You don’t need to see the conversion to know how fast a 1:01.81 is for an incoming freshman. That’s about the time that Arizona freshman Kevin Cordes had coming into college, and he broke an American Record in his first season.
Trussov is part of a big group of breaststrokers coming in. In addition to him and Oak’s 56.6, they also add a 57.0 from Tyler Nichols of Missouri - where he was last season’s state champ; and Mike Nelson from Brophy Prep and the Phoenix Swim Club, who is a two-time individual state champion, with a 56.73. Nelson also already has his Olympic Trials cut with a 1:04.2 in long course.
The depth in breaststroke is matched by a newfound depth in backstroke. They’ve brought in a 51.8 in Seth Lane from Wisconsin, a 50.6 from Parker, and a 51.0 from Iowa native Matt Boyd. Jackson Allen, another Wisconsin kid, adds a 50.3 in the 100 fly, and Maverick Howey from the Minnesota Aquajets (one of the top age group programs in the country) brings a 49.5 100 fly.
But as much and as well as the program is diversifying with this class, it still comes back home to the freestyles for them, as almost all of those guys are targeted as valuable relay pieces (or better) down the line.
Allen, Ernstsson, and Lane all have sub-21 speed already in the 50 while Charles Holliday is just shy with a 21.0; Oak and Luke Snow are 1:41 and 1:40 in the 200 free respectively; hovey is another 1:40 200 freestyler.
The class that just graduated did a lot of great things, and they kicked the snowball down the hill, but this class of 2012 for the Iowa men looks like the beginning of a sustainable, Big-Ten contender.
Full list of signees:
Maddie Bro (Iowa)
Colleen Champ (Illinois)
Maggie Hofstadter (California)
Ashley Horodyski (Colorado)
Olivia Kabacinski (Indiana)
Allie Orvis (Iowa)
Jennifer Weigand (Illinois)
Jackson Allen (Wisconsin)
Matt Boyd (Iowa)
David Ernstsson (Sweden)
Maverick Hovey (Minnesota)
Charles Holliday (Illinois)
Seth Lane (Wisconsin)
Mike Nelson (Arizona)
Tyler Nichols (Missouri)
Quillan Oak (Minnesota)
Andrew Parker (Colorado)
Luke Snow (Missouri)
Roman Trussov (Kazakhstan)
Michael Ubert (Vermont)