Mid-year transfers provide more firepower for Iowa swim/dive

Kennedy Gilbertson and Sergey Kuznetsov have only been with the Iowa swimming and diving program since December, but they haven’t missed a beat in the pool.


Iowa head coach Marc Long talks to the reporters during media day at the CRWC on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. The swimming team opens there season at home this Friday hosting Michigan and Nebraska.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

The impact of Iowa swimming and diving’s freshman class has been nothing short of outstanding this season. Five first years have helped put up the team’s fastest times of the season in a whopping 10 events.

Astonishingly, the Hawkeyes’ class of 2023 just got stronger.

Kennedy Gilbertson, from Plover, Wisconsin, and Sergey Kuznetsov, a native of Espoo, Finland, joined the program mid-season and have quickly made their presence felt. Both athletes debuted for the Black and Gold on Jan. 11, when the Hawkeyes hosted Notre Dame and Illinois for a three-team meet in Iowa City.

“We anticipated this to happen,” head coach Marc Long said. “But it’s a big adjustment to come into school like this with a bunch of new faces, different training. They’ve adapted really, really well to a tough situation.”

Gilbertson — who transferred to Iowa from Minnesota State after the fall semester— tallied second-place finishes at the Jan. 11 meet in the 100 and 200-back.

This past weekend, she finished in eighth in the 200-back at the Shamrock Invitational. She also helped the Hawkeyes secure points as part of the 400-free relay team that finished third at the meet.

Gilbertson has even impressed herself with her performances as of late.

“I knew that I was going to help the team a little bit,” Gilbertson said. “But since me committing, I really helped the team on the relays and am helping with points. I can do a vast variety of events, so it’s helping a lot.”

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Kuznetsov has only been in the United States for a month and a half, but he has hit the ground running for Iowa.

He has won two individual events for the Hawkeyes in his three appearances thus far and has also been part of two winning relay teams.

“I hoped [that I could perform well right away],” Kuznetsov said. “I’m still working. I’m working hard. I’m looking for good results, just striving for greatness.”

Both transfers are expected to be key swimmers for Iowa in next month’s Big Ten championships. The competitive experience they have gained this season has been valuable.

“I came from [swimming at the club level], so I had very small meets,” Gilbertson said. “I wasn’t used to having fast people all the time, fast people next to me, people better than me. It was nice to get out and start racing people that are the same speed as me and learn more technique and skills.”

Both Gilbertson and Kuznetsov noted that they were attracted to Iowa’s swimming and diving program, because they had noticed the success Hawkeye freshman had earlier this season.

“I saw that we have a very good variety of freshmen this year,” Gilbertson said. “I saw that they all had good times, and they all wanted the same thing I want. We all want to succeed here, so they helped to motivate me.”

Both Hawkeye teams will welcome the Western Illinois Leathernecks to the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center on Feb. 7. This will be the season’s final dual meet before the Big Ten Championships begin Feb. 19.

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