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Big Ten Championships: Hawkeyes currently in seventh

BY BEN ROSS | FEBRUARY 23, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Iowa men's swimming team got behind early on the first day of the Big Ten swimming and diving championships.

The Hawkeyes placed seventh out of nine teams in the 200-medley relay with a time of 1:27.16 minutes. Michigan broke the first pool record of the meet by finishing in 1:25.58.

Iowa sophomore Dustin Rhoads came out of the gates quickly on the backstroke, but Iowa fell out of contention in the heat once freshman Korey Schneider hit the water for the breaststroke. Seniors Paul Gordon and Ryan Phelan did enough to pull Iowa out of the bottom in the butterfly and freestyle and keep the squad's head above water.

Despite the team not finishing where he may have expected, Rhoads said he was happy with his personal performance in the relay. He said he was particularly excited to have competed in the first event of the championships.

"It's very exciting; I thought it was a lot fun being in the first relay," the Ames native said. "… I tried to get our relay off to a good start, but I expect to see a lot of fast racing — we're just trying to race and score as many points as we can."

The Black and Gold also placed seventh in the 800-freestyle relay with a time of 6:28.59 minutes. The Wolverines took first, breaking another pool record with a 6:16.26 mark.

Iowa again got off to a strong start; Gordon left his team in third when he finished the opening leg of the race. He was followed by fellow All-American Duncan Partridge, who left Iowa in fifth. Patrick Weigand and Jordan Huff then finished off the relay, notching the seventh-place finish for the squad.

Iowa finds itself in eighth place out of 10 teams — Nebraska and Illinois don't have men's swimmers — with 48 points at the end of the first day of racing. Michigan has a large lead in the meet with a total score of 80 points; Ohio State follows with 66.

 

The Hawkeyes aren't where they anticipated they would be in terms of points after the first day, but assistant coach Nathan Mundt said it was still a good start for his squad. He pointed out there's still three days of swimming ahead of them.

"It's a fast meet, and it's going to be even faster tomorrow," he said. "We still have some work to do these next three days … We can be better, obviously, but we're going to be pretty strong here. We have a great day coming up tomorrow."

Today will mark the first full day of swimming; the starting gun will sound at 11 a.m. for the preliminary rounds of the 500 freestyle, followed by the 200 individual relay and the 50 free. The 1-meter diving trials will start at 1:30 p.m. Finals for the events will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Though Partridge expressed disappointment in his performance during Wednesday's heats, he said he thinks starting strong in today's morning session will be enough for the team to rebound.

"We have to come out strong," he said. "We're a little disappointed in our placing — I'm not too happy with it — but it's still a long weekend. I know a really good morning session will get us into the finals tomorrow night."

Follow DI men's swimming reporter Ben Ross on Twitter.


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