Big Ten Championships: Hawkeyes place fifth

BY BEN ROSS | FEBRUARY 27, 2012 6:30 AM

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

The Iowa men's swimming and diving team finished in fifth place in the Big Ten swimming and diving championships this past weekend, with 395 points.

Michigan took first with 738.5 points, followed by Ohio State with 552.5 and Indiana with 549.

The Black and Gold were 9 points ahead of Minnesota going into the platform-diving completion, but the Golden Gophers surpassed them to take the fourth spot with a tally of 403.

"I don't like finishing fifth," head coach Marc Long said. "But it's the highest finish we've had in 16 years. We were close to fourth … historically, it's a great finish for us, and I'm really, really proud of the team."

Iowa found itself down to Minnesota by 16 going into the final event, the 400-free relay.

The quartet of Duncan Partridge, Ryan Phelan, Jordan Huff, and Paul Gordon powered to first place, rewriting its former school record with a mark of 2:52.53 minutes. Gordon, Phelan, Partridge, and Gianni Sesto had also been crowned Big Ten champions in the 200-free relay on Feb. 24.

Gordon, the anchor, put the team on his back in both relays to give his team the victories. The senior was the first swimmer in the water for the final leg of the 400, but he was forced to give a thundering comeback performance in the 200; he was the fifth in the pool for the last leg.

Gordon said he relished the opportunity to be called upon to anchor the relays and said that's when he does his best racing.

"It was all easy," the senior said. "Being an anchor is easy for me, and I had a hell of a time; it was a lot of fun … I had my work cut out for me, [but] I had so much adrenaline, and we had great spirit out there. It was perfect. As far as my Big Ten season goes, that's the way I wanted to go out."

The story of the meet, though, may have been in the diving well.

Roughly 40 percent of Indiana's total points — 217 of 549 — came from its 10 divers. A large portion of Ohio State's final tally came from diving as well; the Buckeyes notched 106 points from the three diving competitions.

Iowa earned 16 points — 4 percent of its total 395 — in the diving competition. The Hawkeyes' Osvel Molina is one of only two divers on the roster, and he carried the load for the team.

The Hawkeyes would have placed third overall if diving wasn't accounted for, with Michigan and Ohio State staying in the top two. Minnesota still would have taken the fourth spot, but Indiana would have dropped to fifth because the Hoosiers scored 332 points in their swimming events. Penn State, Northwestern, Michigan State, and Wisconsin failed to score any points in the diving well.

Still, Iowa's fifth-place finish was two spots higher than the team managed last year — and the Hawkeyes were ranked No. 14 overall before the championships. That's an encouraging sign, Sesto said after the 200-free relay on Feb. 24.

"It was a team effort," the Las Vegas native said. "… The pool was lit up tonight; we did something in Hawkeye country we haven't seen in a while. We had a building program. But I think right now, by the looks of it, we're a built program."

In today's issue:

comments powered by Disqus

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.