Going Down Swinging: Iowa Men Will Write Their Last Chapter at NCAA Championships


University of Iowa sophomore Will Myhre swam 51.81 in the 100 yard breaststroke on Friday at the Big Ten Championships. That makes him the first swimmer in school history to go under 52 seconds of the event, breaking the prior record of 52.17 set in 2016 by Roman Trussov.

Through 6 sessions of the 9-session Big Ten Championships, Iowa has already broken 4 school records. The meet started with a 1:25.06 in the 200 medley relay, and continued on day two when the team broke the school record in the 400 medley relay, and junior Anze Fers Erzen broke the individual school record in the 200 IM twice, first with a 1:45.90 in prelims and then a 1:44.86 in finals. His teammate, Ryan Purdy, was a 1:45.94 in finals to also go under the old school record.

There have been 5 swimmers involved in Iowa’s record-setting haul. In addition to Fers Erzen and Myhre individually, both swam as members of Iowa’s 400 medley relay. They were joined in the 200 medley relay by sophomore Sergey Kuznetsov and freshman Seth Miller. In the 400 medley relay, Aleskey Tarasenko joined Fers Erzen, Myhre, and junior Kuznetsov, splitting 42.67 on the anchor leg.

In the Iowa Hawkeyes’ last season of men’s swimming (the women’s team has been reinstated), the school is putting up their best performance in years. And all 5 swimmers involved are underclassmen. That means, with the NCAA’s extension of eligibility for all D1 athletes who compete this season, all will be able to swim for at least 2 more seasons at their new programs. Myhre, for one, hasn’t announced yet where that will be.

And so the Iowa men’s team won’t go down quietly in the pool. All of the cut programs have made lots of noise outside of the pool, but not as many have been able to finish writing their history with noise inside the pool as well.

Iowa’s history is a 100+ year history that is inextricably interwoven deeply within the history of the sport, with school records. Thanks to Myhre’s swim on Friday specifically, in all likelihood they will finish writing that history at the NCAA Championships.

The echoes of the final celebratory Tweets from the program’s social media accounts, which at the end of March will cut off into an awkward silence without acknowledgement of why, will reflect the embarassment of cutting a program that was succeeding because the athletics department management could not. That echo will continue when Myhre qualifies for the NCAA Championships again, and publications such as ours write stories about how he is one of the few to qualify for NCAAs with two different programs. That will extend the life of this story, and extend the reach too.

The history that happens and that which is written into history are two very different matters. Getting swimmers to NCAAs in their final season will ensure that the history of this final season is written, and so long as that history is written, it is not forgotten.

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Ralph Kryder
1 year ago

From 1963 to 1967, I swam 5,400,000 yards (3100 miles) in the Fieldhouse Pool . During each stroke I could hear the Iowa Fight Song , as I felt how great an opportunity it was to be a Hawkeye Swimmer and representative for my University. Staying in Iowa City for an additional 12 years, I Coached over 2000 swimmers at City High , West High, and the Iowa City Swim Club, encouraging each one to be a Hawkeye in their future. Never did I feel that Swimming and Diving were a minor Sport. Gary Barta, has had a storied Athletic Career,on several NCAA Division II Football National Champoonship Teams. However, his administrative Career is filled with Universities that never had… Read more »

Paul Eaton
1 year ago

When my family and I crossed the Mississippi River for the first look at The University of Iowa, I marveled at the mile upon mile of ‘shimmering’ corn fields. The sun was setting and the light ‘hue’ gave off the most absolute beautiful scene that these young eyes have ever seen…the colors, the wavy flowing fields, the anticipation of a new home that I had never seen, and a place that I had only read about…IOWA ‘turned out’ to be a life changer for me. Today, my beloved Hawkeye Swimming team faces it’s last day in The Big Ten. It would be easy to ‘give up’, roll over, accept the noose around our legacy and the Hawkeye program, but that… Read more »

1 year ago

It’s good that they can have kind of a happy ending, but devastating that we are seeing the ending now. Heartbreaking reading the article and to see them have to go. Barta should be sorry.
Iowa had some great swimmers over the years, and hosted a lot of big meets. Had a great impact on NCAA swimming.

Bryan K
1 year ago

As an Iowa alum from the 80s who had many friends on the men’s swim team I can say that this AD and president have been a great disappointment. I am also a bit disappointed that athletes on teams not cut haven’t been doing much in the way of supporting their fellow Hawkeyes. I will always be a big fan of the swimming, tennis, and gymnastics programs at Iowa and much less a fan of the administration.

DP Spellman
1 year ago

UI Athletics Director Gary Barta and UI President Bruce Harreld are liars and human garbage. I’m embarrassed as a Hawkeye alum and as a parent of two current University of Iowa students to even be remotely associated with those two fools.
*This program WILL come back once those two morons are gone from Iowa City and a few of the lazy members of the Iowa Board of Regents fade out of the way.

Konner Scott
1 year ago

Their success is the biggest middle finger to the administration. Hoping they (Will and/or relays) knock ’em dead at NCAAs.

1 year ago

So much history down the drain. My heart goes out to all of those swimmers.

Old Swimmer
1 year ago

This is just so heartbreaking! I was very happy to hear that the women’s team got reinstated but the men’s team has to stay also. I am still praying for Iowa and other teams that may be no more

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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