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Coach’s move puts Iowa past Northwestern

BY PATRICK RAFFERTY | JANUARY 25, 2010 7:30 AM

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Trailing at the end of the meet, the Iowa men’s swimming and diving team rallied past Northwestern in the last relay race on Jan. 23 in Evanston, Ill.

After ousting the Wildcats in Iowa City last season, the Hawkeyes proved the victory was no fluke in a 149.5-144.5 victory away from home.

“We knew it was going to be a tight meet on the road in their pool, and I’m really proud of the guys,” Iowa head coach Marc Long said. “It was a great finish to a really exciting meet. A lot of individuals really stepped up and raced hard.”

Entering the last swim of the evening, Iowa had dropped the three previous races. The Hawkeyes knew what they needed to place at least first and third to win the meet.

“We lost our lead, but we knew if we got first and third in our relay, we could win it,” sophomore Paul Gordon said.

Long moved sophomore Duncan Partridge, who usually swims on the A relay, to the B relay for added depth — a decision that gave Iowa the win.

“I had no problem with it,” Partridge said. “Before the race, I was telling the guys, ‘You know I don’t want to get third. I want to get at least second.’ ”

Posting a time of 3:02.31, freshman Jordan Huff, sophomore Ryan Phelan, junior Richard Salhus, and Gordon took first for Iowa.

Seniors Brad Jones and Jake Moore, in addition to Partridge and freshman Mitch Taylor, took second in 3:04.50 to clinch the event and the upset win.

Gordon held high praise for the relay squads — especially Partridge and the B team.

“That’s where the victories come from against a tough opponent like this,” said Gordon, who took part of the A relay. “We needed every single guy from first though fifth.”

Indeed, depth favored the Hawkeyes. Jordan said he and his teammates feel as though they are an up-and-coming team — a notion epitomized by the win against the Wildcats.

“It’s kind of proof to the fact that not one swimmer can win a swim meet,” Huff said. “We needed that relay. We needed eight guys to at least go first and third, and we ended up going first and second.”

Long says that with the conference championships nearly a month away, victories against proven opponents will dispense dividends.

“People are still maturing and learning how to race and compete in all different environments,” he said. “And that will all pay off even more as we approach the championship season. It’s a good win for the swimmers and the divers.”


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