Swim Hawks improve to 2-0

BY BEN ROSS | OCTOBER 31, 2011 7:20 AM

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Coming off a strong performance against Wisconsin, the Iowa men's swimming team won all 16 events against Michigan State to cruise to a 202-91 win on Oct. 29 in the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center.

The Hawkeyes came off the blocks hot to start the meet, and they took the top two spots in the 200 medley relay. The quartet of Dustin Rhoads, Duncan Partridge, Paul Gordon, and Ryan Phelan earned first with a time of 1:30.60.

Iowa never allowed Michigan State to get rolling after that, as they placed first in the rest of the 15 events. Even though Iowa (2-0, 2-0 Big Ten) handled its last two opponents, head coach Marc Long said he thinks his squad is still a team in training.

"Just like Michigan State, we're on our training phase right now, but everyone is still anxious to race," he said.

And Long said he believes it will be a while until his team reaches its full potential.

"[We'll still be in a training phase] until January," he said. "It could be February. They work hard, so anytime we get an opportunity to race, they take advantage of it."

Iowa has taken advantage of its opportunities to swim competitively this season; Iowa's win over Michigan State gives the Hawkeyes a 2-0 record in the Big Ten before Minnesota visits Iowa City on Friday.

In addition to his contribution in the 200 medley, Phelan — a senior All-American and captain — earned first-place finishes in the 50 and 100 freestyles. His time in the 50 equaled his pool-record time of 20.20. Phelan helped the Hawkeyes gain first-place points in the 200 medley and individual free events and also helped the Black and Gold get first in 400 freestyle relay with Sean Swibes, Gordon, and Partridge. The four had a time of 3:03.86.

Phelan said the strong start contributed to his success, and the aggressiveness his team displayed was a big reason for the victory.

"Our relays got off to a really good start," the Cedar Rapids native said. "We won the 200 medley with a pretty respectable time of 1:30. It kind of set the tone for the meet, which was great for us. Everyone else did his job from then on."

Phelan wasn't the only Hawkeye to enjoy success; junior Patrick Weigand finished first in the 1,000 with a time of 9:32, and Rhoads inked a pool-record time of 49.49 in the 100 backstroke.

Iowa will attempt to be as flawless as it was this past weekend when it takes on Minnesota. The Golden Gophers (1-0, 1-0) have one win this season, against Wisconsin, and they are coming off a 2010-11 season in which they finished No. 15 in the nation.

Rhoads, who said a tough week of practice contributed to the positive result against the Spartans, believes another strenuous week in the pool is what the squad needs to have success against Minnesota.

"I was happy with all my races today," the sophomore said. "We've had some tough practices the past few weeks. I took advantage of my opportunities and raced to my potential. The practices really help me with my endurance — that's really what has helped me with my races this year.

"Minnesota is one of our biggest rivals; we'll work pretty hard during the week and watch film to see where we can improve in races, and we'll put our strongest lineup together and be ready."

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