The Men’s Iowa Swimming and Diving team has come a long way since it’s NCAA recruiting violations, near termination of the program, and NCAA scholarship probations.
The program has continued success in spite of all of these set backs the last couple years. The team has posted an unprecedented number of school records and in the first time in over 15 years had multiple Big Ten Champion relay teams rewriting Iowa’s record books. I was lucky enough to catch up with last year’s team captain, Max Dittmer, who was there for the recent highs and lows of the program and ask him a couple of questions about this year’s team.
Sasha: You were able to see some of Iowa Swimming’s lowest points as well as some of their most recent high points. What do you contribute to Iowa’s rapid bounce back?
Max: I do not think you can contribute the progress and recent success to a single factor but rather multiple factors wrapped up as a whole. The coaching staff has recruited well, the new pool and facilities has made that much easier, but also those low points in our program really forced us to work even harder and set thatstandard of hard work and gave our team a chip that it has not forgotten despite moving to state of the art facilities.
S: Do you still follow the team even though you have graduated and moved away from Iowa City?
M: Yes. I still keep in contact with the coaching staff and team members. I swam with the junior and senior classes and still have a lot of friends on the team. I am looking forward to this year despite all of the graduating All-Americans.
S: What is your personal outlook on the team this year despite, as you mentioned, graduating top point scorers and All-Americans like Ryan Phelan, Duncan Partridge, and Paul Gordon?
M: I think when you graduate quality team members and leaders like the three you said, you expect the team to turn in a ‘rebuilding’ type of year. I do not think this is the case for this team this year as there are a lot of talented underclassmen who have been waiting in those guys shadows to prove themselves. Having said that, I think there has been a definite shift in the teams identity from heavily sprint freestyle identity to more of a stroke focused team.
S: If you had to pick one swimmer to watch this year who would it be?
M: I think there are a couple of swimmers you could pick for this. Byron Butler is a senior, team captain for this year who will being stepping out of Paul Gordon’s shadows in the butterfly and also Grant Betullius has continued to improve since his freshman campaign in the backstroke and set himself up as top in the conference and nation, but my eyes are set on the freshman from Kazakhstan, Roman Trussov. This freshman is an early favorite in the conference at the 100 breastroke, something that past Iowa teams have serious lacked.