International athletes boost Iowa swim/dive

Iowa’s swim and dive teams are able to find the best athletes, even if it means crossing oceans.


Katina Zentz

UI swimmer Emelia Sansome competes during the triangle meet against Michigan State and UNI on Thursday, October 3, 2019.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

In its first meet of the year, Iowa swimming and diving took a 3-0 sweep of both Michigan State and Northern Iowa.

In that meet, sophomore Mateusz Arndt and freshman Millie Sansome each won two individual events to help the Hawkeyes come out on top.

Arndt, who grew up in Poland, and Sansome, from England, are two of the 12 student-athletes on the men’s and women’s rosters that came to the University of Iowa from outside of the United States.

“We just try to get the best athletes,” head coach Marc Long said. “I think it adds to have all these different experiences both how they’ve grown up but also how they competed. That really has an impact on the team in a positive way.”

The idea of recruiting the best athletes was no more evident than in the first meet of the season last week.

Seven of the Hawkeye’s 12 international athletes either won individual events, had a role in winning relay teams, or both.

Along with Sansome and Arndt, Anze Fers Erzen, Aleksey Tarasenko, Hannah Burvill, Lauren McDougall, and Jayah Mathews each found success.

When it came to their recruitment to Iowa, both Sansome and Arndt turned to the internet to begin the process.

“I set up an account on College Swimming [.com], and via that service [University of Iowa] emailed me, and we talked,” Arndt explained.

The rise of the internet has made recruiting international student-athletes easier than ever before for the Hawkeyes.

“The internet has changed things quite a bit and FaceTime and Skype,” Long said. “We know some coaches over there and national team directors.”

After completing his first year of college in Poland, Arndt decided to come to the states to swim collegiately and decided on Iowa because of athletics and academics.

RELATED: Iowa swim/dive handles Michigan State, Northern Iowa

“I found Iowa the best in a swimming aspect and in a school aspect, as well, so I chose Iowa over other schools because, for me, it seems like the best place to be,” Arndt said.

For Sansome, the team chemistry and team-centered mindset has been a big help in her transition to the United States.

“I think it’s been really helpful because there’ve been such a big group of freshmen his year. Like, there’s 17 freshman girls, so you know there’s so many other people in the same boat as you,” Sansome said. “Everyone’s been so lovely.”

Both Arndt and Sansome also pointed to other swimmers on Iowa’s team from their respective countries who have helped them adjust. Arndt singled out now graduated senior Michal Brzus. Sansome competed with Burvill in England before coming to Iowa City.

Sansome and Burvill, along with other members of the women’s team will travel to Dallas this weekend to take part in the SMU Classic on Friday and Saturday. Last year the Hawkeyes came in fourth place out of six teams at the event.

Other international student-athletes include Julia Koluch, Thelma Strandberg, Mohamed Neuman, Jonatan Posligua, and Daniel Swanepoel.

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