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Swimming snub

BY PATRICK RAFFERTY | FEBRUARY 03, 2010 7:30 AM

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Entering the end of its season, the Iowa men’s swimming and diving team is going into the Big Ten championship with its best record since the 1983-84 season, when the squad went 11-0.

But something is still missing.

The Hawkeyes, at 9-1, have dropped only one meet the entire season, a 184-114 loss to Minnesota — a perennial powerhouse tied with Ohio State for No. 9.

Iowa posted notable victories over Wisconsin, Michigan State, Northwestern, Missouri, and Notre Dame — all teams on the bubble of the top 25. And out of those five teams, two have more votes than Iowa in the latest college swimming poll by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America.Missouri received 16 votes, and Wisconsin got 15. Iowa managed 11 to barely squeeze by Michigan State (9), Notre Dame (5), and Northwestern (4).

“Well, basically what we do before we do each poll is send the coaches the top 100 times in each event, plus the top 40 relay times,” said Bob Groseth, the executive director of the coaches’ association. “Then we also send them the dual-meet records of the teams and also a strength-of-schedule formula that we’ve worked out, but we’re not real happy with that.”

The Hawkeyes aren’t happy with it, either.

“As far as the ranking go for me, I was real into it last year,” sophomore Paul Gordon said. “I followed it, but it became kind of frustrating because we would go up against a team ranked in the top 25, and we’d beat it pretty comfortably. Then, we’d see the new rankings come out, and they wouldn’t be any different.”

Each collegiate coach can vote, and after he they receives information about the other teams, those registered to vote make their selections. Groseth said the new method allows the coach to get a better perspective.

“The poll the way it’s done this year has gotten a lot more involvement from the coaches,” he said.

“Before it was six or eight coaches making their best guess. Now, it’s 40 or 50 coaches. That’s out of a possible 150. If, for instance, a team gets ranked ahead of a team they beat, we hear about it.”

The coaches’ association has no influence in the voting, it only provides coaches with information to for voting.

One thing the association plans to change is highlighting meets in which teams with a lower ranking beat a higher ranked one to prevent coaches from glancing over upsets.

“I’ve learned the polls are all about respect from the coaches in the NCAA,” Gordon said. “Hopefully, we can keep impressing the coaches, and we’ll see those votes come up.”

Even if the Hawkeye don’t move up, it’s not going to shake the focus of the team.

Sophomore Duncan Partridge said his teammates aren’t worried about rankings — they instead focus on swimming their best right now.

“Last year, we got more into the rankings, but we never felt like they gave us the credit we deserved,” Partridge said. “But we’re not really concentrating on that. We concerned with beating teams. If they rank us, they rank us. If they don’t, they don’t.”


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