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Last dual-meet for men’s senior swimmers

BY BEN WOLFSON | FEBRUARY 04, 2011 7:10 AM

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Tonight marks the last dual meet for five seniors on the men’s swimming team — Max Dittmer, Sean Hagan, Bryan Hill, Zane Hugo, and Richard Salhus.

The five came to the swimming program at a time “when Iowa swimming needed a little bit of a pick-me-up,” assistant coach Kirk Hampleman said.

A “pick-me-up” is certainly what has taken place over the past few years with the program, and coaches give a lot of credit to the leadership of the seniors.

Hill said the atmosphere of the team has transformed into a more serious and goal-oriented one. His freshman year, the Hawkeyes lost several dual meets. The team has only lost three dual meets in the three years since.

Hagan also recalled his freshman year and said that as a team, “we were pretty weak and not very deep in a lot of our events … [Now] I think they’ll be Big Ten champions in the next couple of years.”

“[The seniors’] improvement is off the charts time-wise with where they came in,” head coach Marc Long said. “It’s a real special group that committed to Iowa when we didn’t have a new pool to show them.

“Without this group, we certainly wouldn’t be where we are; they’re absolutely leaving [the swimming program] a better place.”

The Hawkeyes are coming off a set of victories over Denver and Notre Dame in the Shamrock Invitational on Jan. 28-29. Iowa defeated Denver, 229-129, and Notre Dame, 194-174.

The 800-free relay, consisting of juniors Duncan Partridge and Paul Gordon, sophomore Jordan Huff, and freshman Max Behles, set a pool record at Notre Dame Aquatic Center with a time of 3:39.99.

Hampleman expects the men’s team to come out with a lot of energy.

“We’re doing shorter events, and we want them to come out and be speedy,” he said. “I think the men are in a very good place right now.”

The lineup right now is uncertain, because the coaching staff wants to move a lot of swimmers around and gauge performances for the upcoming championship season.

Last year at the Big Ten meet, Hagan said a memorable part of his career was when the Hawkeyes moved up three spots. Iowa finished in sixth-place, its best finish since 1996.

This championship season, the men aim for a better finish.

“I think this dual meet is a great preparation for Big Tens, and we’re expecting to do well in there,” Hill said. “I’m looking forward to coming back here [in the future] and watching them swimming against teams and beating teams that we couldn’t have done.”


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