The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa sprinters face a challenge

The Iowa men’s swim team will be without its top sprinter, at least for the foreseeable future, meaning the rest of the sprinters will have to step up.

Redshirt junior Brian Donatelli was in a moped accident on Oct.16 and broke his tibia and fibula.

Although the injury was initially believed to be season-ending, Donatelli is hoping to be back in the pool in time for the Hawkeye Invitational, Iowa’s next meet, which begins on Dec. 5.

But until then, he said, he will bring energy and continue to lead the team. He said he has been a regular at afternoon practices, rehabbing and working to get back in the pool.

On Tuesday, he paced the entire length of the 50 meter pool on his crutches, taking it all in.

But until he gets healthy, his spots are up for grabs, and head coach Marc Long said those spots, and really every spot, are anyone’s to earn.

We’ve got a hungry bunch right now that are all fighting for the spots,”  head coach Marc Long said. “That will lead to some great races down the road. It’s hard to say for me right now … who it’s going to be.”

One member of the bunch is Jackson Allen, who anchored the winning medley relay and finished second in the 50 freestyle at Minnesota. He also won 100 freestyle. Both of his times in the individual events are season-best times for the team.

“Minnesota is a really big rivalry, and I’ve lost to them the last two years,” Allen said. “Marc told everybody that we really need to crank it up. You get into a mental groove where you just really want to beat the guy next to you, and that’s what It comes down to.”

Although Allen had a strong meet at Minnesota and could emerge as one of Iowa’s top sprinters, he is more concerned about Donatelli getting healthy.

“We’re all trying to step up, having someone down like that, it sucks,  especially for Dono, because he missed all of last year,” Allen said. “Swimming is kind of knocked on for being an individual sport, but that’s the team aspect of it.”

Donatelli said he was excited about what the team did at Minnesota.

“These guys are learning a lot; they’re actually being really aware of what they’re doing in the water,” he said.

Long said it’s early in the season, and the team is still coming together. He said he was proud of the way his team competed at Minnesota.

“We’re not into moral victories, but for a young team to step up like that and very matter of factly have some great races, that’s important for the rest of the year,” Long said.

Donatelli has targeted the Hawkeye Invitational as the second comeback meet of his career, (the first came at USA Swimming Nationals over the summer), and he hopes to be back in the water at practice as early as next week.

“They’re really motivated to do really well  at the Hawkeye Invitational,” Donatelli said about his teammates. “I’m excited to see that and excited to be back and be part of that.”

Follow @IanFromIowa on Twitter for news, updates, and anlaysis about the Iowa swimming and diving team.

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