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Strong start fuels men’s swimming

BY PATRICK RAFFERTY | DECEMBER 15, 2009 7:30 AM

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Entering the halfway point of the season, the Iowa men’s swimming and diving team has concluded clearer waters must lie ahead.

The Hawkeyes have had a quietly impressive start to their journey to the Big Ten and NCAA championships in the spring.

Failing to make a strong impression on the national scene in recent years, the team did so recently by placing fourth in the Short Course National Championships earlier this month.

Sophomore Duncan Partridge, who said the team has had a successful start to the season and the Hawks are “right where they want to be.”

“I thought we had a great fall season,” he said. “Especially our freshmen. They came in and adapted quickly, and they’ve fit with the team really well.”

Freshmen typically ar en’t expected to make a strong impact in their first season. However, the Hawkeyes are writing their own book.

Freshmen Byron Butler, Jordan Huff, Patrick Weigand, and Pawel Gilski, among others, have already made their marks.

Sophomore Brian Tremml also noticed the fresh faces. He said with the freshmen swimming up to their potential, Iowa could surprise people at the Big Ten championships in late February, 2010.

“We have a really young team,” the second-year Michigan native said. “I think optimistic would be the best word to describe it. The freshmen came in ready to go. They didn’t need much help. If they needed help, the veterans were clear to give it to them. They stepped right up and raced, and I think that’s what they brought them here to do.”

One. That’s the number of losses the Hawkeyes have in the dual meets this season, which came against Minnesota.

Following that 118-114 defeat on Nov. 6, the Hawkeyes didn’t slow down. Instead, they went on to win the Hawkeye Invitational in blow-out fashion, then earned a fourth-place finish out of more than 53 teams at the Short Course meet. Tremml said the focus of college swimming is February and March, and all work leads up to that point.

“This is prime training time right now,” he said. “We take care of finals week, then hit it hard for four to six weeks of intense training. It’s great. We go down to Florida in the warm weather and get away from everything and focus on swimming.”

Tremml said that ever since he’s been on campus, all the talk has been about making the next move.

Even when head coach Marc Long visited with Tremml, he spoke about taking the team to a superior level.

“I can remember on my recruiting trip, just making the next step,” he said. “We’re kind of at the bottom of the Big Ten right now, but with the dual meet success we’ve had, were definitely going to move up at conference this year and have a presence at NCAAs. Hawkeye swimming is definitely on the rise.”

Assistant Coach Nathan Mundt cites the team atmosphere as a reason for success. He is hoping the team’s continuity will help lead it to even more celebration in the future.

“I think it’s a really positive vibe with these guys,” he said. “They’re a hard working bunch that enjoy being around each other in and out of the pool. They’re really excited to get down to Florida and have a great training trip and improve throughout the second semester.”


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