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Men’s swimming scores huge victory on last relay

BY BEN WOLFSON | JANUARY 24, 2011 7:10 AM

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As the Iowa men’s relay teams took their places on the blocks for the final event of the afternoon, the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center was loud and raucous. The team members not in the event stood and chanted “Hawkeye Relays” at the top of their lungs. It had come down to this race — the scoreboard read, Iowa 141, Northwestern 140.

“I was very excited [before the relay started],” junior Ryan Phelan said. “I know my relay [team] and how pumped up we get for things like this.”

Freshman Devon Meeks led off for the “A” relay team as fans from both schools screamed at the top of their lungs at the Jan. 22 meet.

Meeks was followed by sophomore Jordan Huff, and then Phelan. Junior Duncan Partridge anchored for the team.

The Hawkeyes’ “A” relay squad was even with the Wildcats’ “A” squad until Huff started to gain some ground. That gap widened when Phelan got a great jump off the blocks and extended the lead.

Partridge finished the race, his teammates screaming and cheering louder while jumping up and down at his every turn.

At the end of the meet, Partridge touched the wall first as the squad finished with an overall time of 3:01.71 and the Hawkeyes basked in their victory.

The Wildcats’ “A” team was disqualified during the race, and the Iowa “B” team took second place with an overall time of 3:06.82, cementing a 156-142 Hawkeye victory.

Iowa’s relay squads have been the team’s strength so far in this dual meet season, and this meet was exemplary of that.

“This is a very resilient, very hungry team,” associate head coach Frannie Malone said. “The 400-free relay is an event where we have a lot of confidence, and it’s really built over the last couple of years.”

Besides a win for the men’s swimming team, the diving team also had a good showing. With freshman diver Arsen Sarkisian out with a shoulder injury, the task fell on freshman Osvel Molina to take on the Northwestern diving squad alone.

Molina performed admirably in Sarkisian’s absence, finishing first in the 3 meter with a score of 286.65. He also took first in the 1 meter with a 305.48.

The No. 23 ranked Hawkeyes men’s team will compete Friday and Saturday in the Shamrock Invitational in South Bend, Ind. Its last dual meet of the season will be at home against Western Illinois on Feb. 4, and the Big Ten championships will follow on Feb. 23 in Minneapolis.

At this point, members of the squad say they’re ready and excited to begin the championship-format meets.

“The men’s team is shaping up pretty nicely for championship season,” Huff said. “We’re going into it with a racer’s mentality, we’re just getting after every race and trying to beat the kid next to us.
“That’s what we’re doing now, and that’s what we hope we keep doing.”


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