Women's swimming and diving face Minnesota on the road


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The Iowa women's swimming and diving team will travel to Minneapolis today for its toughest dual meet of the season against the top-ranked Big Ten team, Minnesota.

"[Minnesota] is definitely really strong," junior Danielle Carty said. "They have a lot of star swimmers on their team, and they have a lot of depth, so it's going to be a tough dual meet. I would say our hardest of the year."

The Gophers finished second in the Big Ten the last two years and first in 2007-2008. Minnesota has a history of a strong swimming program, and this season is no exception.

The team has already received two Big Ten Athlete of the Week honors, and every athlete who qualified for the NCAA championships last season has returned this year. The team is off to a 4-0 start, defeating Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa State, and Wisconsin. The Badgers, another highly ranked team, defeated Iowa, 208-92, on Oct. 15.

Head coach Marc Long plans to approach this meet on an individual basis.

"We are taking it one event at a time, knowing that we can be competitive in some events," Long said. "And other events we won't be as strong. A good team like Minnesota will expose that."

The Gophers' relays are especially fast and have proved to be a threat at the national level. The 400-medley relay won the Big Ten title and placed 12th at the NCAAs; the 200-medley relay placed second at Big Tens. The 200-freestyle relay also has had success, finishing third at the conference meet.

Although Minnesota is known for its relay teams, the Hawkeyes' junior captain Daniela Cubelic is confident in her team's ability to challenge the Gophers.

"Our medley relay has typically been pretty strong," said Cubelic, who took first in three events against Michigan State two weekends ago. "I think to get out there, race with them, and kick off the meet right would be really encouraging for us."

The women's 200 medley relay will start today's competition.

As in their meet against Wisconsin, the Hawkeyes are hoping to make a splash against Minnesota's relays.

"Minnesota is extremely fast and extremely deep," Cubelic said. "But our goal is to just get out there and race their relays. It will be good practice and hopefully prepare us for the championship season."

Minnesota is the highest ranked team the Hawkeyes will face in the dual season, and this also gives them a taste of the tough competition they will see at the Big Ten championships in February.

"Exposure to the people who are placing at Big Tens and competing against them in the beginning of the season is really good experience and really prepares us," Carty said.

The Hawkeyes are not expecting to win, but they are excited about the opportunity to show what they can do against a tough team.

"We definitely can race them in some races," sophomore captain April Allen said. "We have to stay positive and get competitive. Even though they are a tough group of girls, we can still get up and challenge them."

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