Hawkeye swimming upsets Gophers

BY BEN ROSS | NOVEMBER 07, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Iowa men's swimming team edged out Minnesota this past weekend after 14 years of coming up short against its border rival.

The Hawkeyes defeated the Gophers in the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center, 160.5-139.5.

The meet featured some of the best Hawkeye swimming of the young season; six pool records were broken by the Black and Gold (3-0, 3-0 Big Ten) during the competition.

Prior to the event, many Hawkeye players and coaches said the meet against the Gophers (1-1, 1-1) was one of the most important of the winless streak and the rivalry between the two teams.

Senior Paul Gordon also said this meet was important on a personal level because defeating Minnesota was one of his main objectives once stepping on campus as a freshman.

"I remember sitting in a meeting with [head coach Marc Long] my freshman year," the all-American said. "We talked about future meets and goals. I said I wanted to beat Minnesota my senior year. That was a long time ago, and I couldn't really see it happening back then. After how the team has improved and come together with recruiting and the new pool, I felt like it was the perfect time for that to happen.

"This Big Ten victory is the sweetest we've had since I came here."

Gordon had one of his best meets of the year — if not his career — this weekend, placing first in the 200 and 100 freestyles and the 100 butterfly. He also helped Duncan Partridge, Jordan Huff, and Ryan Phelan set a pool-record time of 2:58.17 in the 400-freestyle relay.

Though the Hawkeyes have reason to celebrate now, they will see Minnesota again in Iowa City during late February at the Big Ten championships. Long said there's still plenty of work for his squad to do between then and now.

"[The win] does feel good," the eight-year head coach said. "This is just a step in progress for the team; we're shooting toward the end of the year, certainly. Tomorrow morning, they have practice, so this is something we'll enjoy. I'm proud of how everybody raced, but we still have a lot of work to do."

The victory over Minnesota may be the largest of many Hawkeyes' careers; the Gophers finished the 2010-11 season ranked No. 15 in the nation, and they were poised to make a run at the Big Ten swimming title.

Sophomore Dustin Rhoads, who notched a pool-record 48.98 in the 100 backstroke, said beating Minnesota will go down as a main achievement both for him and the rest of the team. He believes the squad can only get better from here on out.

"I'm proud of everyone on this team," the sophomore said. "We made it one of our goals to go undefeated at home. We gave them our best shot, and it turned out our way today.

"This is definitely the biggest meet I have ever been a part of — I'm so happy to be on these team right now, I can't even explain it. It was a whole team effort tonight, and that will do a lot for us when we progress and when championship season begins."

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