Intramurals makes a splash

BY BEN ROSS | DECEMBER 10, 2010 7:10 AM

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Forty-one men and women swimmers making up seven teams gathered Thursday night at the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center to participate in the University of Iowa's first-ever intramural swim meet. The meet was composed of seven individual events and two team relay events, including 200 freestyle, 50 butterfly, 100 backstroke, mixed 200 medley relay, and other assorted relay races.

This is the first event of its kind held at the university, but assistant intramural director Tommy Schorer said, "A lot of other schools have had this idea, and that there has been a lot of interest shown for intramural swimming."

Intramural Director Mike Widen explained that he has wanted to hold such an event for a while, and with the arrival of the new facility, he could not have asked for a better time. Widen said he didn't have any expectations number-wise for the event, but was pleased with the amount of participants.

He can see intramural swimming becoming one of the more popular options offered on campus in the coming years.

"I am happy about the turnout," he said. "I saw a lot of smiling, a lot of laughing, everything went smooth. I look forward to the next meet in fall 2011 already."

The best way to increase awareness and participation for the event is by word of mouth, he said.

As expected, the majority of the swimmers have some experience in competitive swimming; most participants swam for their former high school teams. Freshman Rob Burke, who hails from Ames, was excited to get back in the water after taking time off swimming since high school. Burke explained he heard about the event from friends, who all raced under the team name "Sons of Thunder." He also joked that his team trained by participating in as little exercise as possible.

"I had fun, but it showed how out of shape I really am," explained Burke, who swam in the 50 breaststroke, 50 freestyle, and the mixed 200 medley events.

Not all participants had experience in competitive swimming however. Freshman Bailey Barry had never swam a race before in her life. Like Burke, she heard about the event from her friends, who swam under the moniker "Fighting Mongooses." Barry met all of her teammates in classes, and decided to set high standards for herself in her 50 freestyle.

"My only goal was to finish with a decent time. I had a lot of fun, I would definitely do it again, but maybe with some more practice before the day of the meet," gasped an excited, but tired Barry.

When asked if she fulfilled her goal, Barry proudly replied; "Hell, yes."

Team Sons of Thunder took home all the hardware — or T-shirts, rather — with a score of 94.0. The Fighting Mongooses came in second with a score of 62.0. Sons of Thunder took the final event, the mixed 200 medley relay with a time of 1:56.

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