Iowa prepares for second annual Hawkeye Invitational


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Nearly a month has passed since the Iowa men's swimming and diving squad's last meet — a 177-119 loss to Minnesota in the University Aquatics Center in Minneapolis.

Since then, the team has had time to regroup and train in preparation for this weekend's Hawkeye Invitational.

The Invitational is in its second year of existence here at Iowa, and the Hawkeyes will face Denver, Notre Dame, South Dakota State, Green Bay and Milwaukee, and Ohio State. The Buckeyes will be competing in diving only.

The meet differs from the Iowa's previous dual-meet competitions because it is three days in length, and it will begin with prelims in the morning, with final races and scoring in the evening.

"It's a good test [for our team] because we want to keep people in a variety of events and situations," head coach Marc Long said. "We wanted this longer break so that we could get some more training in, where in years past we always had another meet sandwiched in. We think this will help us for this meet and beyond."

Having a meet like this helps the squad gain experience in the race formats they will have to swim during the end of their season when they go to the Big Ten championships.

Long said he plans to put his athletes in one or two events per day, plus relays. Another positive is that the diving team will get an opportunity to compete in platform, 1-meter, and 3-meter springboard dives.

One obstacle the Hawkeye swimmers will have to face is needing to perform at their peak immediately in the morning — while also staying fresh enough to do well in their events during the finals stage at night.

"You have to worry about swimming twice a day in each event, and preparing to swim fast in the morning to place in finals," freshman Kyle Noser said. "Warm-down is definitely key the first two days so you're just as fresh the last day as you are the first day.

"It gives you an advantage if you are disciplined to stay warmed-down the last day than others who maybe haven't."

The added pressure may also play a role in how well the swimmers do this weekend. It's one thing to race one person from another team next to you, but completely different racing against seven people from different teams, Noser said.

It's critical the Hawkeyes come off the blocks at high speeds because more people can score for Iowa than in its previous dual-meet events.

"We go through top-16 that they can score, so that means every swim matters," sophomore captain Jordan Huff said. "We always preach that swims matter, but in an invitational, we need as many people in the finals as possible."

The Hawkeyes will use this meet as a measuring stick of their season, and look to learn from the results as the prepare for the second half with more championship-style meets on the horizon.

"As a team overall, we're looking to potentially win the meet," Noser said. "It's a good test to see where people are at [at this point in the season]."

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