Big Ten Championships: Iowa in eighth after first day of competition

BY DI STAFF | FEBRUARY 16, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Iowa women's swimming and diving team stands in eighth place following the first night of competition at the Big Ten championships, despite posting some of its best times of the year.

The opening night consisted of just the 200-medley and 800-freestyle relays. The Hawkeyes posted a time of 7:20.29 minutes — the second-best time in school history — in the 800 free; the Black and Gold kicked off the event with freshman Becky Stoughton's record-breaking split of 1:47.09 minutes in the opening leg.

That time was only good for ninth place at the meet, though. Indiana set a Big Ten record with its time of 7:00.82 minutes — the second-fastest time in the nation this season, behind Georgia's 7:00.55 minutes posted on Feb. 3. Minnesota and Wisconsin took second and third places.

Iowa also posted the second-best time in school history in the 200-medley with a time of 1:41.85 but finished in eighth place. Wisconsin took the top spot, followed by Ohio State and Minnesota.

Iowa head coach Marc Long said he was pleased with his athletes' performance, even if they didn't finish high in the standings.

"You have to understand [how tough] the league [is]," he said. "But starting off crushing the school record [split in the 800-free relay] and getting the second-best time in school history — not bad, but we always want more, and it's very early in the meet."

This is the first time Iowa has hosted the Big Ten meet since 1985, and several Hawkeyes said they were happy with the atmosphere.

"In dual meets, the stands aren't half as packed [as they were Wednesday]," senior captain Danielle Carty said. "When you're standing behind the blocks, and they announce 'Iowa is lane …' it was just so exhilarating to hear — the crowd starts cheering, and you just have to smile because it's an experience we've been waiting for all year."

Iowa will resume action this morning with preliminaries for the 50 and 500 freestyles, 200 individual medley, and 1-meter springboard diving. Competition will begin at 11 a.m., and the finals will be held at 6:30 p.m.

— by Tork Mason

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