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Men’s swimming and diving not fretting loss

BY PATRICK RAFFERTY | NOVEMBER 09, 2009 7:20 AM

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Auspicious may not be the best word to describe a team that has just lost.

But it illustrates the feeling of the Iowa men’s swimming and diving team after a 184-114 defeat by Minnesota on Nov. 6.

Iowa head coach Marc Long said he thought the Hawkeyes did well against the Golden Gophers. But he wasn’t satisfied with finishing second.

“Well, it’s a tough loss,” Long said. “Minnesota is a great program. The last couple decades, it has been outstanding. We knew it was going to be hard-fought, and we had to race well to have a chance.”

Minnesota came into Iowa City having won 13-straight dual meets dating to the 2007-08 season. The Gophers also had only lost one dual meet in the last five years — the lone blemish coming at the hands of Florida, 158-142.

Despite winning four of 16 events, Long still thought his team made its mark.

“Some races could have gone better,” Long said. “But as things progress, we want to make sure we finish strongly, and we did finish strongly. We’re happy with that but clearly not happy with losing.”

While Iowa trailed at the end of the meet, the Hawkeyes wanted to make a splash.

They did so with the 400-freestyle relay. Similar to the 15 events prior, Iowa trailed in the relay.

The team of sophomores Ryan Phelan, Duncan Partridge, Paul Gordon, and freshman Jordan Huff got off to a great start but were behind the Gophers.

Gordon anchored the team, and the Hawkeye swimmer sliced through the water for an event-best 44.05 seconds during his leg, which capped off the race.



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Gordon said the team had plenty of motivation.

“We we’re all really pumped, and we knew that the relay was going to be close because we we’re all so excited for it,” he said. “Some of the schools in the Big Ten have trouble respecting Iowa swimming, so in the back of our minds, we just wanted to stick it to a good team.”

Along with the 400-freestyle relay, Gordon also won the 200 freestyle (1:38.33) and the 100 butterfly (48.96), the only other first-place finishes for the Hawkeye swimming team.

Gordon said he had pent up energy for the Gophers because he grew up racing many of the team’s members when he was in club swimming.

“It’s definitely nice to see that No. 1 against the gophers,” Gordon said. “We had a lot of guys stepping up; it was a great meet. It wasn’t just wins for us. It was the close finishes — the 200 individual medley, where we we’re right with them. I think it made us excited about what we can do at Big Tens this year.”

Long said Gordon is progressing during his sophomore season, and the head coach expects it to continue.

“Paul is really stepping up and becoming a real leader on the team in the water,” Long said. “Whatever we put him into, he’s a real confident swimmer, and he keeps getting better and better. … That last relay was a nice step in the right direction for us as a program, and he’s a key part of that, definitely.”

Iowa’s other wins came during the diving. Senior Frank Van Dijkhuizen had a tough break, placing second in the 3-meter with a score of 352.05 — a score usually good enough for first.

Senior Michael Gilligan won both the 1-meter diving event and praise from his coach with a score of 340 even.

“That’s the best he’s dived all year,” Iowa diving coach Bob Rydze said. “He was real consistent. … but he sort of missed his back 21⁄2 tuck, or he would have gotten the pool record.”


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