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Swimming set for road trip

BY SHELBY STITES and IAN MURPHY | OCTOBER 17, 2014 5:00 AM

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The rivalry between Big Blue and the Spartans fuels the fire in the state of Michigan. But one thing is for sure: when the Black and Gold cross the border into the Great Lake State, a different type of fire burns.  

The Iowa men and women’s swim teams said they are ready to race again against Big Ten competition.

The women enter their dual meet with Michigan State with a 1-1 record in Big Ten competition after splitting a win with Nebraska and loss to Michigan two weeks ago.

The men are trying to secure their first conference win. Michigan State was the only Big Ten team that Iowa was able to defeat a year ago.

“We are excited to race,” sophomore Emma Sougstad said. “We thrive in a competitive environment, and that is why we are excited to have the opportunity to excel this weekend. It will be fun to participate in the energetic atmosphere.”

The Iowa men’s team has normally had success in their first road trips of the season, having won two of the last three road-opening meets. The lone loss came last year to Michigan, which went on to take fourth in the NCAA meet last season.

The women’s team also has seen success in road meets early in the season, winning two of their last three road-opening meets. They, too, lost to Michigan.

The coaches said they are excited to take the team on the road.

“It is good to get the team on the road,” head coach Marc Long said. “And to do it against another Big Ten opponent will be exciting.”

Long said it will also be a good bonding experience for the whole team to be on the bus so long, a statement echoed by plenty of swimmers.

“It’s always fun to get on the road and be with the team,” said senior Grant Betulius. “Once we step on the bus, we kind of forget about school, and clear our heads, and get ready to race.”

And they will need to be.

The Michigan State men and women are coming off home wins against Grand Valley and Denison in a tri-dual meet on Oct. 11. The Spartans were the winners in 16 of the 22 events.

The Hawkeyes will have plenty of time to clear their heads on the 426-mile drive from their home pool to East Lansing, Michigan.

“I think it’s a good opportunity to go up and race a Big Ten opponent,” Betulius said.

Despite the fun and games seen at the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center Pool on Oct. 11, the Hawkeyes will enter the McCaffree Pool with a focused mind and desire to win.

“Our expectations are to race to the wall and beat anyone with a green cap,” Sougstad said. “We have had a hard week of practice, and now it is time to just grind out some fast racing and to see what we can do.”

Follow @ianfromiowa and @shelbystites on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams.


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