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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8 months ago

Way to show them Iowa is still fighting on. Whatever happens, this team has done the swimming community proud. Go Hawkeyes!

8 months ago

I’ll bet Doc Councilman is spinning in his grave over the cancelation of Men’s swimming at Iowa. That beautiful facility and soon to be no team anymore. What a shame!

8 months ago

I hope all of the teams in Greensboro get up on their feet for these guys.

8 months ago

I have enjoyed swimming at the University pool and against Hawkeye swimmers.

Hopefully someone one day can petition the administration to bring this team back.

8 months ago

The mark of a failed athletic administration: a successful team dying out. Shame on them.

Old Swimmer
8 months 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

8 months ago

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

Konner Scott
8 months ago

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

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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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