Oct. 11, 2010
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By RICHIE ZAWISTOWSKI
IOWA CITY, Iowa — After calling the Field House pool home since 1927, Hawkeye swimming and diving is officially underway at the University of Iowa Aquatic Center in new Campus and Recreation and Wellness Center.
What a debut it was, as Iowa dominated Truman State in the first meet in the improved facility. Both the Iowa men’s and women’s teams trumped Truman State 180-75, and 159-99 respectively, in the initial meet in new waters.
“It was just great to be here — each week seems to be kind of a new thing,” said UI head swimming coach Marc Long. “This was the first collegiate meet in the pool, and next week is the first Big Ten meet in the pool. We got a chance to see some people in some off events which is great as we prepare to head into the conference season.”
The Hawkeye teams have started a new era in Iowa swimming after moving out of the Field House pool that had been called home for so long. However the new aquatic center has 16 lanes, is 50 meters long, and converts into two-25 yard pools allowing the UI to host Big Ten swimming championships. There is also seating for 2,200 people.
“The Field House pool has incredible history, but its time had come” said Long. “The facilities aren’t even comparable; the basics — bigger length, water temperature, and ventilation. We definitely honor that place, I know the team has a lot of respect, but we’re thrilled with this place.”
With upgraded facilities and a young and hungry team, Long looks at the move into the new pool as a beginning for Iowa swimming, and the direction it is headed is back to the top.
“There’s a really proud tradition of Iowa swimming that goes back to 1917,” said Long. “There are NCAA Champions and Olympic gold medalists. So where we are right now, this is kind of a beginning. We have a long way to go to move back up to that national stage. But truth is, we’ve got some proud members here that are talented, so it is kind of a launching point.”
The season-opening victories for Iowa in the new pool served as a great launching point. The men’s team came in first in every event and the women’s team was right behind, as it placed first in all but four events. The impressive thing about that with it being the first meet of the season, there were swimmers in certain events they had not normally done before.
“We were looking to see some people in some events that they don’t typically get to swim in dual meets,” said Long. “We did get to see some good things. The main thing this time of the season is seeing them race because we still are in a pretty heavy training mode. So we have to review the tape and look at the results a little bit more.”
Iowa will host Wisconsin in the first Big Ten meet in the pool Friday, Oct. 15.