Iowa High School Champ & Jr. Nationals Finalist, Joe Polyak, commits to Minnesota (2024)

by Mark Wild 2

November 28th, 2023 Big Ten, College, College Recruiting, News

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Iowa City, Iowa, native Joe Polyak will be heading north for the fall of 2024 after verbally committing to swim for the University of Minnesota.

I am beyond excited to announce my verbal commitment to continue my academic and athletic career at the University of Minnesota! Minnesota has exceptional athletic support and a great team culture that can help me succeed both in the pool and in the classroom. Thank you to the Gopher coaches for this opportunity and my family, friends, coaches, and supporters who have helped me get here. Go Gophers!!

Polyak competes for his high school team, Iowa City High School. At last winter’s Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) State Championships, he medaled in both of his individual events. In his first event of the meet, the 200 IM, Polyak swam his way to the championship title, touching in a new personal best time of 1:48.94.  In the 100 breast, Polyak finished in a time of 55.44, which was not only good for 2nd place but also a new personal best.

However, Polyak did not confine his PBs to individual events. Leading off both the 200 Free and 400 Free Relays, Polyak got his team out to a fast start, touching in 21.07 and 46.94, respectively, with the 200 free relay finishing in 5th overall (1:26.59) and the 400 Free in 7th (3:11.19).

Two weeks later, Polyak continued his excellent form, taking out several more personal bests at the 2023 IASI Short Course State Championships. Representing the Iowa Flyers Swim Club, he won the 200-yard breast in a new best time of 2:03.03, as well as the 400 IM in 3:56.55. In addition to those two gold medal performances, he lowered his times in the 100 free (again to 45.61 this time), in the 200 free (1:39.60), and in the 500 free (4:32.53).

His success continued into the long course season, where he finaled at Junior Nationals in the 200 IM. Polyak would finish 12th in the 200 IM in a time of 2:03.24 (a new PB), as well as setting new bests in the 400 IM (4:29.26), 200 breast (2:18.81), 100 breast (1:03.71) and 400 free (4:00.90).

Best SCY Times:

  • 200 Free – 1:39.60
  • 500 Free – 4:30.79
  • 100 Breast – 55.44
  • 200 Breast – 2:03.03
  • 200 IM – 1:48.94
  • 400 IM – 3:56.55

Polyak will join a Minnesota team that finished 5th at the 2023 Big Ten Conferences. The Golden Gophers were led by Max McHugh’s double gold performances in the 100 and 200 breast (50.80 and 1:50.20) and Bar Soloveychik’s double silvers in the 500 and 1650 (4:14.45 and 14:50.93).

Polyak still has the remainder of this year to drop a few seconds to qualify for the finals in best events. Last year, it took 1:46.83 to make it back to finals in the 200 IM, 3:52.04 in the 400 IM, 1:37.91 in the 200 free, and 4:25.66 in the 500 free. In the 100 breaststroke, his best time of 55.44 is just off the 54.74 needed to make it back.

Polyak will overlap one year with Drew Kaelin and Josh Johnston, who outside of McHugh, were highest placed Gopher in the 100 breaststroke at conferences where they finished in 25th and 26th, just outside of making it back, touching in 55.29 and 55.80.

Joining Polyak in committing to Minnesota for the fall of 2024 are Jacob Johnson, a butterflier from Springfield, Pennsylvania, Owen Von Weihe, a breaststroke/IMer from Raleigh, North Carolina, Luke Mychalowych, another breaststroker from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Luke Brennan, a distance swimmer from Robbinsville, New Jersey and Jaden Heinlein, a backstroke/IMer from Palatine, Illinois. Also joining Polyak is Israeli swimmer Daniel Eichel.

If you have a commitment to report, please send an email with a photo (landscape, or horizontal, looks best) and a quote to [email protected].

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Paul Eaton
2 months ago

Bring Back Men’s Swimming and Diving at The University of IOWA!

Former Big10
2 months ago

Quality recruit!
IFLY swimmers have been doing well the past few years.