Water Hawks look to "pack the pool"

BY BEN ROSS | OCTOBER 28, 2011 7:20 AM

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After a decisive 227.5-66.5 win at Wisconsin on Oct. 20, the Iowa men's swim team will return home to take on Michigan State at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center.

Both teams are undefeated going into the competition; Iowa is 1-0 with its win over Wisconsin, and Michigan State is 2-0 with wins over Cleveland State and Oakland (Mich.).

Because it's the first home meet of the season, Iowa is hosting a "Pack the Pool" promotion in order to get as many fans to the competition as possible. The Iowa marketing department will also hold a "guess the winning time contest" in which fans can guess the winning times of the men's 50 free and women's 100 free events. The winner will receive a $25 Visa gift card.

Junior captain Jordan Huff said he's excited about racing against the Spartans, and the events held at the pool during the meet should make for a good swimming atmosphere.

"It's always good to swim at home, especially against a hungry Michigan State team," he said. "Pack the Pool is always fun; people get loud and are really supportive. It's a great experience to get as many fans into the stands as possible."

The Black and Gold were successful in Madison in their previous meet, but senior Paul Gordon said he thinks swimming at home is a greater advantage than most people might think. The sparkling new facilities at the rec center help him swim to his potential, he said.

"I'm definitely a lot more comfortable at home," the senior All-American said. "It's a fast pool; it's brand-new, with great locks and good jets at the bottom. It makes for great turns. It helps to have a nice pool. It makes training and racing more consistent; it helps swimmers swim their best."

The Hawkeyes have notched a 27-4 dual-meet record since 2008, and they are 4-0 in their new facility. Iowa came out ahead of the Spartans the last time it faced them, 181-119, in East Lansing.

The advantages of swimming at home aren't limited to being familiar with the pool. Senior Duncan Partridge said he thinks there are many non-swimming-related advantages to not having to travel for competition.

"I always like swimming at home," Partridge said. "Away meets are fun, but when you're at home, you're more relaxed. It's much more convenient, food is readily available, and you get to sleep in your own bed the night before."

As the Hawkeyes seek to fulfill their goal of finishing at the top of the Big Ten, Huff gave some advice to his teammates before they get into the water on Saturday.

"You can always improve your spot in the race," he said. "Don't let a poor start dictate the rest of the race. Just because they are in front of you in the beginning doesn't mean they will be at the end."

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