Iowa swimming adds two international swimmers

The Hawkeye swimming and diving team has added two international athletes - Aleksey Tarasenko and Lauren McDougall - with impressive resumes.


Katina Zentz

Iowa swimmer Devin Jacobs competes during the Northwestern/Wisconsin swim meet at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center on Saturday, January 19, 2019. The men’s swimming and diving team defeated the Badgers, 164-136, and the Wildcats, 194-106. The women’s swimming and diving team fell to the Badgers, 191-109, and the Wildcats, 178-122.

Tanner DesPlanque, Sports Reporter

The Iowa swimming and diving teams have athletes from all over the United States and the rest of the world. And the Hawkeyes just added two new international swimmers over break: Lauren McDougall from Sydney and Aleksey Tarasenko from Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

“I think they both bring such an international experience to the table, which means they have competed against all different types of opponents and in different locations,” head coach Marc Long said. “In addition to the talent they bring, those experiences really do filter throughout the team and help the entire program.”

Both athletes have posted respected careers in their respective countries and hope to further their swimming careers as Hawkeyes.

McDougall graduated from Presbyterian Ladies College School — a high school in Sydney — a few months ago and came straight to Iowa instead of enjoying the Australian summer.

She has had a lot of success in her high-school career — she was a two-time senior swimmer of the year, school swimmer of the year, and two-time intermediate swimmer of the year.

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She also helped lead her team to runner-up state finishes in 2016 and 2017 and a third-place finish in 2018. During her state championship career, she tallied eight top-three finishes, which included a win in the 200-meter free (2:03.19) and was part of a winning 800-meter relay.

She also placed second in the 100-meter free, 400-meter free, and as part of 800-meter free relay and 400-medley relay at state. Her team won two PLC Sydney team titles (2015, 2016).

In addition to freestyle events, she won the 50-meter fly in 2018 and 200-meter medley relay in 2017. McDougall also holds the school record in 100-meter free (57.15).

McDougall made her Hawkeye debut against Illinois and Notre Dame on Jan. 11. She competed in four events and finished second in the 100 free (52.02), fifth in the 200 free (1:53.13), and swam on the second-place 400-free relay and fifth-place 200-medley relay.

“It was a big change, pretty intense, but I’ve enjoyed the nonstop being busy and everything,” McDougall said. “It has been very different; we don’t swim yards in Australia, so learning how to kind of race differently than long-course meters and everything has been quite difficult, but the team and coaches have been very accommodating, and it helped with my transition.”

Tarasenko attended school No. 43 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. He hasn’t had an offseason, either; before he came to Iowa, he was swimming all over the world.

One coach in particular who helped recruit Tarasenko was Roman Trussov, who came from the neighboring country Kazakhstan, so it was easy for the two to connect — Trussov was once in Tarasenko’s position.

Tarasenko had a solid high-school career. He was champion at the Asian Age Group Swimming Championship and Champion of Uzbekistan. He also swam in two World Junior Championships in Singapore (2015) and Indianapolis (2017). Later, he competed in the World Swimming Championships in Budapest in 2017. Tarasenko was a medalist at the Asian Indoor Games in Indonesia in 2018, and also swam in the Asian Indoor Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, in 2017.

Tarasenko made his Hawkeye début Jan. 19, when Iowa hosted Wisconsin and Northwestern. He finished fourth in the 200 free (1:37.97) and snagged first place in the 100 free (44.71). He was part of the Iowa 200 medley Team C that was disqualified, but he was on the winning men’s 400-free relay team.

“I feel really happy. I’m really happy to be here because there’s such good conditions for the education program and also the swimming,” Tarasenko said. “My father told me that in my own country, there’s no such good facilities like in America, and it is a really good place to train and to study.”

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