ISU men’s swim team has high hopes for new season

Brad Seward

After losing nine seniors the ISU men’s swimming and diving team looks for this year to be a reloading year, not a rebuilding year.

The season will officially start Friday when the team travels to the University of Kansas for the Big 12 Relays.

Iowa State will try to top last year’s 7-2 record in dual meets and a third-place finish in the Big 12 Conference Championships. The team has high expectations for the season.

“We definitely would like to be in [the] top three again. We’d like to be two if that’s a possibility,” said Cyclones Head Coach Trip Hedrick.

Peder Skoog, team senior captain has started of the year well.

“I think we’ve got a good team this year and can hopefully send a big team to NCAA this year,” Skoog said.

Skoog has already broken three Beyer Hall Pool records in the 200 medley, 200 backstroke and 400 medley relay at the intrasquad meet last Friday.

The Cyclones have five seniors and a good mix of youth coming together to accomplish the tasks ahead, and Hedrick likes how his seniors have taken on the leadership role early.

“We’re just getting exceptional senior leadership this year,” said Hedrick.

“This year the seniors early on sat down and really told the team what their goals were and didn’t offer any discussion. They said this is where we want to go with this team and that impressed me a lot.”

Senior Josh Nogar, a team captain, believes the senior swimmers will have a positive impact on the team. Nogar posted multiple wins at the intrasquad meet.

“Our senior class is a strong point,” Nogar said. “Everybody in the senior class has a legitimate chance of making the NCAA Championships.”

The five seniors include: captains Nogar and Skoog, who Hedrick cited for their intense summer training regiment; former NCAA Championship qualifiers Jeff Gahan and Henrik Ingesson; and Jeremy Wilson.

The Cyclones also have a number of strong juniors. Dylan de Bruin comes off his second consecutive NCAA Championship appearance. He also turned in multiple wins at the intrasquad meet.

Hedrick looks for another good season from de Bruin.

“We are certainly looking for him to continue to improve and find ways to get even faster yet,” Hedrick said.

The Cyclones also eye a strong campaign from junior Brett Lohmeier.

“Brett’s really stepping up in the I-M and breaststroke events,” said Hedrick. “Brett is probably one of the more versatile swimmers that I have ever coached. He can swim almost any event that we could ask him to swim.”

Other juniors expected to make a major impact include Aron Nakama, Doug Owen, Billy Reese, and Liam Short.

Hedrick also highlighted a number of sophomores that could have a great year. One of those swimmers was Mike Christianson.

“Mike stepped up and had to play a huge role in our successes of last year,” said Hedrick. “We’re looking for Mike to step up again in both the medley relay, 200 medley, 400 medley, and the 100 breast and his 200 breast is going to be very good also this year.”

The coach also talked about the importance of sophomore swimmers Mike Jimenez, Ansel Lindner, Rob McGinty, Karl Sunrydh and Shane Ryan, a transfer from the University of Minnesota.

The freshman class is full of athletes that should make an impact soon.

The class is comprised of Brian Gahan, the younger brother of senior Jeff Gahan; Morgan Hagerman, Jonathan Newton, Bram Olsen, Steve Petric, Mike Rigali, Jason Schneider, and Morgan Wardell.

“This is a good solid group,” Hedrick said.

“Great kids, extremely good students as well. They are all a very good fit for what we’ve got going on with our program.”

The diving team also looks to have a great season. However, the task will be somewhat tougher due to injuries.

Diving coach Jeff Warrick is still optimistic.

“I have nothing but high expectations for them,” said Warrick.

“Hopefully we’ll have some Big 12 finalists. NCAA qualifiers are something we are always looking for also.”

Sophomore Dave Likar and freshman Mitch Fluegel are currently the team’s only healthy divers.

The field in the Big 12 may be as strong as it has ever been. Hedrick says that Texas, the defending NCAA Champion, is loaded with talent. The Longhorns send out a team that sent a number of swimmers to the Olympics in Sydney.

Texas A&M will also be quite strong this year, and Nebraska is as tough as the Huskers always seem to be.

Hedrick also expects major improvements from Missouri and Kansas.

Even with the overall improvement of the league, Hedrick remains positive about the year.

“Don’t count us out,” Hedrick said. “We traditionally swim extremely well at the Big 12 meet.”

Iowa State will host its first home meet Nov. 4 against Wisconsin. All home meets are held at Beyer Hall Pool.