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Hawkeyes prepare for long-course training

BY RYAN RODRIGUEZ | NOVEMBER 06, 2013 5:00 AM

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Imagine playing football when after your bye week, the entire team decides that the next three games are going to be played on a field that is 200 yards long instead of 100. Crazy, right?

Well, for the Iowa men’s swimming and diving team, that insane prospect is a reality the Hawkeyes face every season.

That’s because in a matter of weeks, the team will begin its transition from the short-course season to the long course, a change that will last approximately three months.

“It’s a different aspect, for sure,” senior Dustin Rhoads said. “It’s a lot more swimming and a lot fewer walls. Because there’s more swimming you can really work on your technique, so I think we’ll use it as an opportunity to improve some of the little things.”

So what is the big difference between the two? Well for one, as the name might suggest, the pool becomes longer. The mid-wall is removed from the center, transforming two 25-meter pools and converging them into one big 50-meter pool that the team will use to swim races and train, so while the length of the events don’t change, the size of the pool does.

The events don’t change; however, Rhoads said, the longer length means fewer turns and flips. A 100-meter race that took four lengths to swim will now only take two, allowing the swimmers to focus more on their stroke and technique.

“It’s about getting faster anyway you can. Every tenth and hundredth of a second counts, so I think the change will really help us, technique-wise, plus it helps us get into better swim and aerobic shape in the long run,” Rhoads said.

And while the Hawkeyes will not compete in an event in this format, head coach Marc Long views it as a valuable training tool to help keep his swimmers in shape and ready to compete in a tough conference such as the Big Ten.

“We’re really using that time period to prepare for our Hawkeye Invitational in December,” Long said. “That time is really there for us to train and get ready for that meet, and then, we obviously start a new phase of the season afterwards training for championship season.”

Iowa will swim a dual meet against Purdue and Ohio State this weekend, then have close to a month of time off to prepare for arguable their biggest home event of the season, the Hawkeye Invitational.

“That time period is where we can really refine things,” Long said. “We still keep up the training, but it’s in knowing that we’re preparing for a ‘peak-style’ meet.”

As one might expect, the added fatigue the muscles experience from the more endurance-heavy long-course training is something that swimmers sometimes have trouble adjusting to both mentally and physically. However, senior Andrew Marciniak is confident that his team is experienced enough for it not to become a problem.

“The turns and the timing off the wall are the only real challenge I’ve noticed,” he said. “But that’s something that you pick up after only a couple minutes of practice. I think everyone on the team has such a high knowledge of swimming that it shouldn’t be too hard of a transition.”


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