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Men's swimmers and divers ready for Northwestern Invitational and Big Tens

BY JALYN SOUCHEK | FEBRUARY 01, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa men’s swimming and diving team will compete today in the Northwestern Invitational in Evanston, Ill. The Black and Gold will race against Northwestern, Notre Dame, and Missouri State, in a three-session, two-day format.

The invitational comes a week after the Hawkeyes won a 161-122 dual-meet over this weekend’s hosts, Northwestern. Though Iowa will swim against Northwestern again, the teams won’t score against each other.

Instead, Iowa will only score against Notre Dame and Missouri State in dual-meet fashion. Sessions will begin at 5 p.m. today and at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday.

This will be the second time Iowa has faced the Fighting Irish this season. Notre Dame bested the Black and Gold back in December during the Hawkeye Invitational — Notre Dame finished in second place with 794 points, and the Hawkeyes came in third with 606.5.

The Northwestern Invitational will give the swimmers an opportunity to compete in the same lineup of races that will be on display at the Big Ten championships, an event that would normally span four days.

“It’s really quality racing against excellent teams,” Iowa men’s swimming head coach Marc Long said. “It’s great preparation for the end of the year.”

Sophomore Brian Donatelli said that the formation of the meet will be tough, but it gives the swimmers more opportunities to race leading up to Big Tens.

As the team works to put together a final lineup for the Big Ten’s, assistant coach Nate Mundt said the Hawks wouldn’t approach this meet any differently with lineups. He noted that it’s likely the lineups won’t be set until shortly before the conference championship, but this weekend gives individuals the opportunity to earn a spot.

“It could change by day, you know, it’s going to change,” he said. “Really it could lead up to that weekend before we go. There’s not a set date for it.”

Donatelli agrees that the approach of this meet isn’t different from last week or prior competitions.
“I feel like it’s going to be the same mental preparation,” he said. “We’re definitely going to go in there with that same attitude that we had last weekend and see what we can do at their pool.”

Going into the meet, the team had time to review the races from last week and use practice to fix things that may have needed to adjust. Reviewing their races has also not only been beneficial, but, Mundt said, has become a game-changer.

“Nothing particular [sticks out in tapes], I think it’s just being sharp with the little parts of your race; starts, turns, finishes,” he said. “All things that can lead to optimal performances come February and championship season.”

Donatelli said that he especially likes to review his performances to adjust on what he says is the little things, but that it’s important to not over-analyze it.

“When it comes down to it you don’t want to think about that during your race,” he said. “You just want to clear your mind and race.”

Donatelli noticed from the tapes that his area of improvements needed to come in his finishes in the 50 freestyle. It’s something he has been mindful of all week during practices, preparing for the meet.
Long said there is still improvements to be made, but the team is in the right direction.

“I did see a group that’s hungry and wants to continue getting better and faster,” he said. “That’s what we’ll hopefully see this weekend.”


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