Men’s swimmers fall in prelims

BY BEN WOLFSON | MARCH 25, 2011 7:20 AM

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Members of the Iowa men’s swimming team had a rough first day in Minneapolis Thursday in the NCAA meet.

The 200-free relay team — juniors Ryan Phelan, Duncan Partridge and Paul Gordon, and sophomore Jordan Huff — fell short in preliminaries, finishing in 17th place, one slot below qualifying for the finals section Thursday night.

Overall the group swam well, finishing in a time of 1:19.15.

Head Hawkeye coach Marc Long called the NCAA championships the fastest meet in the world before the Hawkeyes left for Minnesota.

First-place finisher Auburn touched the wall in the 200-free relay in a time of 1:15.50, which showcased the level of competition Iowa faces.

“It was an electric atmosphere,” Long said. “I’m not disappointed in the guys … The relay time was the second-fastest we’ve done this year other than Big Tens.”

Partridge and Phelan also swam in the 50 free.

Phelan finished in 36th place overall in the race, touching the wall in 19.89, and Partridge, despite finishing barely behind him at 20.09, was in 45th place.

The first-place finisher, California’s Nathan Adrian, finished a little more than a single second better, 18.76.

“[The guys] are upbeat [despite missing the finals],” Long said. “It’s just a game of centimeters with these relays.”

Today, the swimmers will take part in the 200 free, and Huff and Gordon will try to have good morning sessions in the preliminaries in order to swim in the finals.

There is also a possibility of the Hawkeyes being asked to participate in the 200-medley relay.

The NCAA championships will conclude on Saturday, with the squad will taking part in the 400-free relay. Gordon will swim in the 100 free as well.

“It’s nice to have the Hawkeyes back at [the NCAA] meet after such a long drought,” Long said. “Our goal is not to be up here, but to be up here and scoring, and there’s still a lot of swimming to go.”

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