Record-setting week at Minnesota Invitational ends in personal glory for Colin

Senior John Colin qualified for the Olympic trials on Sunday to cap off Iowa swimming’s best competitive showing yet.


Megan Conroy

A Hawkeye takes his mark for a backstroke event at the swim meet on Friday, October 4. The Iowa men won over Michigan State, 180 to 112. The Iowa women won over Michigan State 183 to 113. The women also won over Northern Iowa. 183 to 113. Michigan State won over Northern Iowa 180 to 120.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

After the Minnesota Invitational wrapped up on Saturday night, many of Iowa’s swimmers could relax — but not John Colin.

The senior was preparing for a Sunday swim that could take him to a national stage.

Minnesota hosted a day of long course meters time trials on Sunday. As the long course season looms, Colin’s Sunday goal was simple: to finish under 56.59.

A time of 56.59 is the 100-back time that USA Swimming set to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Trials.

Colin’s 56.47 allowed him to realize a dream that he had been working toward since 2015.

“It just shows that a lot of the hard work that I’ve been putting in for a long time has finally paid off,” Colin said. “I tried four years ago, came up just shy, but didn’t really give up on it. It was still a dream of mine, so I wanted to try again.”

This years’ time threshold isn’t much faster than it was in 2015 — 57.19 — and Colin had been close to that time since last summer, so it was just a matter of executing his best race at the right time.

Colin’s Sunday was not without adversity, though, as it took him two attempts to clear the threshold.

“Even that morning I missed it that first attempt and then tried again an hour later,” Colin said. “I really kind of pushed myself to get through it. The coaches had faith in me, as well, so it was cool to go after it.”

His first attempt was a personal-best and that encouraged him as he prepared for his next attempt. But even Colin’s qualifying swim wasn’t without obstacles — literally.

“Since I had a best time in the first swim, I kind of swam the sleep out of me in the first one and felt pretty good going into the second one,” Colin said. “[In the second attempt], I even ran into the lane rope, but I was excited because I had another chance to go after it, and I think that just gave me confidence.”

RELATED: Iowa swimming and diving breaks records at Minnesota Invitational

Fellow Hawkeyes Daniel Swanepoel, Anze Fers Erzen, and Aleksey Tarasenko met the qualifying time standard in their events, but all are from outside of the United States.

Colin’s performance on Sunday capped off a historic week of Iowa swimming as four school records were broken, two by senior Hannah Burvill — both previously her own records — and one each from junior Kelsey Drake and freshman Millie Sansome.

For Sansome, the record for the 200-back — set by Lindsay Seemann back in 2013 — had been in her sights for quite some time.

“It was so exciting,” Sansome said. “I had my eyes set on that record, and it’s so cool to have your name up on that wall. I’m really happy about that.”

Sansome broke the record when she swam a 1:56.31 in the prelims, besting the previous top-time by .18 seconds.

Aside from the four school records posted at the event, many athletes set personal or season-best times last week.

“We weren’t fully tapered, so it was really encouraging to see us step up and do those best times and the best season performances yet, so we’re excited for the rest of the season,” Burvill said.

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