Hawkeye Women Head To Big Ten Championships

Feb. 16, 2009

The Iowa women’s swimming and diving team will compete at the Big Ten Championships, Wednesday thru Saturday at Ann Arbor, MI. All events will be held at the Canham Natatorium on the University of Michigan campus. Event prelims are scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. (CT) Thursday, Friday and Saturday, while event finals will start at 5:30 p.m. (CT) each evening.

All-session tickets are $35 for adults and $20 for seniors and youth (ages 18 and under). Single session tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for seniors and youth. Tickets are available from the Michigan Athletic Ticket Office at 866-296-6849.

A portion of the three-day event will air March 1 at 11 a.m. (CT) on the Big Ten Network.

The Hawkeyes placed ninth with 139.5 points at the 2008 Big Ten Championships at Columbus, OH.

Hawkeye freshman Katrina Tour was Iowa’s top individual placewinner – finishing sixth in the 100 breast (1:02.51). She also swam on the 400 medley relay that placed sixth, the 400 free relay that placed seventh, and the 200 free and 200 medley relays that placed eighth. Junior Alison Gschwend, and sophomores Laura Mozdzen, Christine Kuczek, Julie deBruin also swam on those relays. Kuczek, freshmen Caitlin Carlyle and Verity Hicks, and junior Ashley Dell swam on the 800 free relay that placed 10th (7:29.57). Kuczek also placed 11th in the 100 free (50.55), Gschwend placed 14th (55.39) in the 100 back (23.18) and deBruin placed 15th in the 50 free (1:03.96).

The Hawkeye women have crowned 13 Big Ten champions in the program’s 34-year history. Iowa’s highest finish at the Big Ten Championships was in 1986 when the team tied for second after crowning eight champions.

Nancy Vaccaro won Iowa’s first title in the 50 fly in 1983. Iowa’s last Big Ten champion was Melissa Loehndorf in the 200 fly in 2001.

Kelly Johnson was named Big Ten Diver of the Year in 1986, and Head Diving Coach Bob Rydze has been named Big Ten Diving Coach of the Year three times (1985, 1986, 1995).

Kerry Stewart (1983), Jennifer Skolaski (2005) and Nancilea Underwood (2006) are Iowa’s Big Ten Medal of Honor winners for women’s swimming and diving.

Since its first season in 1975, the Hawkeye women’s swimming and diving team has posted 111 NCAA qualifiers, 39 all-Americans and 16 Big Ten championships. The Hawkeyes have a dual meet record of 175-151-2 in their 34-year history.

Iowa’s facility, the Field House Pool, was the world’s largest indoor pool when it was dedicated in January, 1927. Head Men’s Coach Dave Armbruster, who founded the team in 1917 and coached until 1957, designed the facility. The Field House pool was the birthplace of the butterfly stroke. Armbruster and swimmer Jack Sieg collaborated in its development in the 1930s. The acceptance of the new stroke encountered considerable controversy and was first used Feb. 25, 1935, in Iowa City in the medley relay in a dual against Wisconsin. The relay included Dick Westerfield, Sieg and Adolph Jacobsmeyer. Sieg’s time was five seconds faster than the existing 100-yard world record.

Marc Long is in his fifth season as head coach for the University of Iowa swimming program. It’s his fourth year as head coach of the combined programs. During his tenure as head coach of both programs, 10 school records have fallen and 45 Hawkeyes have provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships. Under Long, the men’s team has an 18-17 record, while the women’s squad has a 31-28 mark.

As a Hawkeye swimmer (1987-89), Long was a multiple NCAA finalist, six-time all-American and three-time Big Ten Champion, winning two conference titles in the 100 fly and one as part of the 400 free relay. He was voted a team captain in 1989 and helped lead the Hawkeyes to a Big Ten runners-up finish, and their highest team placing (eighth) in modern day history at the NCAA Championships. Long swam on Iowa’s Big Ten and NCAA record setting 200 freestyle relay that year.

Long is assisted by Kirk Hampleman (Auburn, 2002), Frannie Malone (Iowa, 2000) and Nathan Mundt (Tampa, 2001).

Bob Rydze is in his 34th year as diving coach of the Hawkeye men and women’s teams. Rydze returns to Iowa this season fresh from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, where he served as Team Leader for USA Diving. During his tenure with the Hawkeyes, Rydze has coached 31 all-Americans, nine Big Ten and one NCAA Champion.

Ground was broken for the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center in October, 2007. The facility will serve as the new home for Iowa Swimming and Diving upon completion in the fall of 2009. The facility will be at the corner of Burlington and Madison streets and is expected to cost $69 million.

Iowa’s divers will compete at the NCAA Diving Qualifier March 13-15. Swimmers and divers who have met qualifying standards will compete at the NCAA Championships March 19-21 in College Station, TX.

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