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Men’s swim team has successful showing at Big Tens

BY BEN WOLFSON | FEBRUARY 28, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Iowa men’s swimming team didn’t break into the top-five in team placing at the Big Ten championships as the members had hoped. But the Hawkeyes did return from this weekend’s competition in Minneapolis with eight school records.

The Hawkeye fans who traveled to see the team perform came away seeing some special performances during the four-day event in the University Aquatics Center at the University of Minnesota.

“[Big Tens] were really fun,” junior Paul Gordon said. “Iowa fans really showed up, and I think they were even louder than the Minnesota fans.”

Gordon ended up setting a school record in the 100 free with a time of 43.52, placing fifth.

The Hawkeyes’ relay teams continued to swim well. The 400-free relay team of Gordon, juniors Duncan Partridge and Ryan Phelan, and sophomore Jordan Huff nailed fourth place with a time of 2:53.50.

Phelan’s strong tournament continued with his second-place finish in the 50 free in a time of 19.75. He earned second-team All-Big Ten honors.

The NCAA championships will not take place until the end of March. Huff said the Hawkeyes are nervously waiting to find out if the times at Big Tens were good enough to qualify.

The team won’t find out until next week which swimmers qualified.

As far as practices go, Huff said, the swimmers will “try to get our base back up and taper for [NCAAs].”

The Hawkeyes will also specialize more and focus particularly on what races they’ll swim if they go to NCAAs.

Other school records that were broken included the 200-back mark set by sophomore Byron Butler. In the Feb. 26 morning prelims session, Butler posted a time of 1:44.87; he ended up finishing seventh in the finals.

Freshman distance swimmer Manuel Belzer capped off the last day of Big Tens with a college-best time of 15:17.56 in the 1,650 free. The time marks a NCAA “B” cut.

There are two types of qualifying times that swimmers can attain to reach the NCAA meet.

The NCAA “A” time means an automatic qualification, and if a swimmer breaks into that range, he will swim in the NCAAs. A “B” cut only indicates a probable qualification — the swimmer’s time will be reviewed by a committee, which will decide if it is adequate to qualify.

“We have quite a few people that are very close or have qualifying time standards that got in last year,” head coach Marc Long said in a voice mail. “We feel good about the relays and some individuals making the Big Dance.”


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