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Men's swimming travels to Minneapolis

BY BEN WOLFSON | NOVEMBER 05, 2010 7:20 AM

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The Iowa men's swimming and diving team has had a two-week hiatus to prepare for its hardest test of the dual-meet season so far: a matchup with Minnesota at the University Aquatic Center in Minneapolis.

Minnesota, the 11th-ranked team in the nation, according to collegeswimming.com, has traditionally fielded a strong team and provided great competition for the Hawkeyes — who for the first time in their season will head into a meet as an underdog.

"Certainly, for the fall dual-meet season, this is our hardest test," head coach Marc Long said. "[Minnesota] is a very experienced, deep team at home. All we can do is lay out our best lineup and see how things come together."

This is the second-straight road dual-meet. Two weeks ago Iowa traveled to East Lansing, Mich., and throttled the Spartans, 181-119. But, Long said, the lineup of his team may change a bit tonight from what it was at Michigan State because of different strengths in the Gophers' lineup.

One thing that will be in the Hawkeyes' favor is that they have had an extra week of practice to prepare. Minnesota competed Oct. 29 against Wisconsin and ended up winning, 174-123.

"Overall, we've just gotten a little more time to train for this meet," sophomore captain Jordan Huff said. "We all want to swim well for each other, and we swim well against each other.

"Everyone is going for that victory, and I think that's what helps us … we're always trying to beat everyone in the pool, including our own teammates. That's why we come away with more victories."

Being taken lightly by the Gophers has irked some members of the Iowa squad.

"Border states are always fun to swim against," senior captain Bryan Hill said. "When [the Gophers] swim against us, they usually don't take notice of us. But this year, we're definitely going to change that."

Bragging rights are on the line tonight for the Hawkeyes, especially for team members such as junior Paul Gordon, who grew up in Sioux Falls, S.D., but often traveled to Minnesota to face better competition. Gordon, who is described by Huff as "the guy the team looks to to help us through these meets," is one of the most successful swimmers for Iowa, participating in the 400-free relay, 200-medley relay, 200 free, and 100 fly.

"I've been to that pool a lot, and it's kind of my territory," Gordon said. "I feel a little more at home there; it's not so much of an away meet for me."

Iowa will find out if its extra preparation and excellent team chemistry will be the thorn in Minnesota's side as the Hawkeyes look to continue to remain undefeated so far this season.

"We have to keep up our scrappiness, and race hard, and just remember that everyone has each other's backs," Huff said. "Regardless of what happens in one event, there is always another event to bounce back in."


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