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Iowa swim and dive team excited to open season against Spartans

BY JALYN SOUCHEK | OCTOBER 19, 2012 6:30 AM

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When the Hawkeyes met the Spartans last season, both the Iowa men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams surfaced with wins. The men swept Michigan State in all 16 events, and the women took 13 of 16.

This time, the teams will be without their home-pool advantage — the Hawkeyes will travel to East Lansing, Mich., today to open the season against the Green and White. The Hawks don’t see the meet as an easy victory.

“You know going on the road is always challenging, and they’ve got a great group of athletes,” head coach Marc Long said. “One of their swimmers is one of the best swimmers of the conference, certainly, and the freestylers are strong, so there’s going to be some great racing.”

Long said competing away from the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center isn’t a challenge, just something the Hawkeyes aren’t used to.

“Our first night we get there, we’ll be training; we’ll actually be outside in a long-course pool in probably 40 degrees,” Long said.

Junior Andrew Marciniak said that he doesn’t think traveling will have an effect on the Hawkeyes’ performances and that they will match up well against the Spartans.

“There will be some good races in there … We’re just going to go in there and race and come home,” he said.

This year’s squads are very different from last season’s; 24 freshmen have joined the Hawkeye men and women.

“It’s a totally different team,” Long said. “[It’s a] totally different makeup, different strengths.”

Marciniak said the freshmen are coming along well, and he expects them to have a good performances.

“I say they’re doing very well; they’re learning fast,” he said. “They’ve been doing well in practice, overall, looking good.”

Long noted that the peak performances won’t come until February and March. Because it’s early, the Hawkeyes want to get the freshmen involved and feel the excitement of a dual meet competition.

Junior diver Abby Grilli expects the team to perform well and that she will produce strong individual results.

“We’ve all been practicing really hard, so I just want to do what we’ve been doing in practice and have fun,” she said. “I know that results will be there.”

Traveling with the team is something Grilli especially looks forward to.

“I’m excited for the team aspect of it. I think it’s going to be really fun traveling as a team,” she said. “We have a lot of freshmen, and I think it’s a good experience for them, and I’m excited to get back in the swing of things. “

Long expects the Big Ten to continue to be one of the strongest conferences depth-wise in the country.

“Everybody you face, every team, has awesome or outstanding individuals, and we can never relax, but that’s what makes it exciting,” he said. “There are some really strong teams, there’s great coaching, and it’s just going to be an exciting season.”


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