Marc Long declines opportunity to coach Iowa swim and dive in 2021-22

Per a UI athletics release, Long will not be Iowa swim and dive’s head coach in 2021-22.


Ayrton Breckenridge

Head Coach Marc Long speaks at the save swim meeting outside the IMU on Aug. 29, 2020.

Austin Hanson, Sports Editor

After 17 seasons with the program, Marc Long will not return as head coach of Iowa swim and dive in 2021-22. Per a Tuesday afternoon release, Long declined the opportunity to coach the Hawkeyes moving forward.

“This was an incredibly difficult decision to leave a program that means so much to me,” Long said via release. “It has been an honor to work with many amazing students, athletes, coaches, and staff throughout my time at Iowa. That experience and the positive interaction with alumni, families, and fellow coaches has been a privilege.”

“I’d like to thank my family and friends for being incredibly supportive, understanding, and encouraging, especially as I take this next step,” Long continued.

Long’s decision to step down comes just over month after the end of the men’s and women’s swimming and diving seasons.

Had Long returned in 2021-22, his job would’ve been very different.

Since 2002, Long has coached the Hawkeye men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs.

On Aug. 21, the University of Iowa, its president Bruce Harreld, and its athletic director Gary Barta announced that the institution would be discontinuing four NCAA Division I sports programs at the end of the 2020-21 academic year to decrease the UI Athletics budget deficit brought on by COVID-19.

Among the cut sports were men’s and women’s swimming and diving.

After a months-long legal between the UI and four Hawkeye women’s swimmers — Sage Ohlensehlen, Alex Puccini, Christina Kaufman, and Kelsey Drake — Barta and the UI elected to reinstate women’s swimming and diving in perpetuity.

While the Title IX suit brought fourth by the women’s swimmers has yet to conclude, it likely will not result in the reinstatement of Iowa men’s swim and dive.

So, Long would’ve been coaching women’s swim and dive, exclusively, not both men’s and women’s swim and dive as he had in years past.

Long would’ve been facing an extensive program rebuild in 2021-22 too. From 2019-20 to 2020-21, the Iowa women’s swim and dive team’s roster shrunk from 34 athletes to 24.

Last season, Long coached five NCAA Championship qualifiers and junior Aleksey Tarasenko, who posted an Olympic qualifying time good enough to represent his home country of Kazakhstan in the 2021 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

During his tenure at Iowa, Long coached 53 All-Americans, and his athletes shattered 169 Hawkeye records. Long has also helped 450 Hawkeyes provisionally or automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships.

Long’s impact stretched beyond the pool deck too, as he helped found the Hawkeye Health C.A.R.E program — now referred to as Hawks to Professionals (HTP). HTP is a unique job shadowing and mentoring program available to all UI student-athletes.

Long also established the Hawkeye Business Social — a professional development and networking event available to Hawkeye swimmers and divers.

“I would like to thank Marc for his commitment to the student-athletes over the past 17 years as our head coach,” Barta said. “He has been an advocate for the student-athletes from day one and has represented our program in a first-class manner.”

During his first six years as Iowa’s head coach, Long also served as the UI’s aquatics director, and he played a pivotal role in the design of the UI’s Campus Recreation and Wellness Center.

Long spent his days as a student-athlete at the UI too. During his time in the pool at Iowa, he qualified for the NCAA Championships multiple times, won three Big Ten titles, and earned All-America honors on six occasions.

UI athletics did not provide any insight as to when it will begin its search for Long’s replacement. No specific hiring timetables were identified either.

The women’s swim and dive season typically begins in October.