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Iowa men's swimming and diving ready to begin Big Ten's

BY JALYN SOUCHEK | FEBRUARY 27, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa men’s swimming and diving teams are set to compete in the Big Ten championships in Bloomington, Ind. The meet will begin at 6:30 p.m. today and will continue over the course of four days.

The Black and Gold finished the regular season ranked 20th nationally, going 7-6 in dual meets. Iowa will return to the championships a year after taking fifth place, its highest finishsince 1996.

“These guys are very competitive athletes, and they want to score high,” Iowa head coach Marc Long said. “It’s a tough meet, but we’re looking for everybody to step up and perform.”

The Hawks will be up against some of the nation’s best swimming and diving programs, with five other Big Ten teams nationally ranked — No. 3 Michigan, No. 8 Indiana, No. 13 Ohio State, No. 14 Minnesota, and No. 24 Penn State.

Iowa met each of the higher ranked teams in dual meets but were unable to overcome them. Long is confident his team is prepared to compete after having over two weeks to ready for the meet.

“It was a good time to keep preparing and fine-tuning, both physically and mentally,” Long said. “It was also a good time to get everyone excited.”

Long also expects All-American senior Jordan Huff to have a strong performance and to finish with the best season that he has had.

“He’s having a tremendous season so far … the team relies on him as kind of our bolt,” Long said. “He’s ready to go. He’s going to have a great meet; he’s confident. I have no doubt that he’ll have the best performance possible for him and for the team.”

Huff is the only Hawkeye to return from last years’ 400-freestyle championship relay. Iowa also won the 200-free relay in the 2012 competition. Huff anticipates a strong performance from the relays, despite a younger squad this year.

“Obviously, we want to swim as best as we can; we will be competing with some of the best in the Big Ten,” the veteran said. “But we have a really strong relay team this year, and I have all the confidence in the world.”

Another senior, Byron Butler, said he, too, wants to finish the season on a high note.

“If I have been practicing the way I should be practicing, the results will follow,” he said. “I think that I and the whole team have been doing that, and I think it’s going to be really exciting.”

In their final Big Ten meet appearance, both seniors have the experience from prior competitions, which will help keep them more mentally prepared for the tough atmosphere.

“Just take it one race at a time,” he said. “Whatever happens on Wednesday doesn’t matter on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. The most important thing is to keep racing no matter who is next to you.”


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