Hawks to take pool against Wolverines

BY BEN ROSS | DECEMBER 02, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Iowa men's swimming team will get back in the pool for the annual Hawkeye Invitational swim meet this weekend after a brief break in action for Thanksgiving.

The Black and Gold will host Notre Dame, Denver, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and No. 1-ranked Michigan.

The championship-format meet will take place all weekend, with prelims starting at 10 a.m. all three days. The finals will commence at 6 p.m. each day except Dec. 4, when they start at 4 p.m.

No. 10 Iowa (4-1, 4-1 Big Ten) went 1-1 in a dual-meet competition the last time it was in the water, beating No. 17 Purdue (3-2, 1-2) but falling to No. 11 Ohio State (7-0, 2-0) on Nov. 18 at the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center.

Head coach Marc Long chose to keep his swimmers in Iowa City until the day before Thanksgiving so they would stay focused. He allowed them the rest of the week off, though he encouraged all his swimmers to partake in some exercise over the break.

Junior All-American Jordan Huff listened to his coach and hardly rested at all; he practiced with his former high-school team during the holiday.

"The coaches give us some workouts to do at home, but I trained with my high-school team," the Dubuque Senior High alum said. "It's always fun to go back there — we just do some traditional workouts."

This meet will be the only time Iowa will compete against the top-ranked Wolverines (5-0, 1-0) before the Big Ten swimming championships, which will be held in Iowa City in late February. Iowa's swimmers will likely have to overcome those on Michigan's roster if they wish to make it to nationals, which will be no easy task; the Maize and Blue edged out No. 2 Texas on Nov. 4 in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Senior All-American Duncan Partridge said he's excited to compete against all the teams over the weekend, but he is especially looking forward to facing perennial Big Ten powerhouse Michigan.

"Michigan is always top two in the Big Ten," he said. "… The No. 1 team is coming to your pool, you can't ask for more. This is the first year [swimming against] them since I've been here. Being able to see these guys and how they race before Big Tens really lets you know where they're at."

Sophomore Gianni Sesto echoed his teammate's words of excitement about facing the top-ranked Wolverines. But the freestyler said he was equally enthusiastic about the opportunity to race certain individuals from the five total opposing teams, and participate in competitive swimming throughout the weekend.

"All the teams coming are really fast," Sesto said. "Notre Dame has an up-and-coming swimmer named Frankie Dyer; he's done really well, and we do the same events.

"[Michigan coming] is huge for us. It has a lot of good seniors and underclassmen. We've been preparing for this since August; it will be quite the challenge, but we're ready for it."

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