4 Overboard

March 10, 2011

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa men’s swimming team is sending four swimmers to the 2011 NCAA Championships. Juniors Paul Gordon, Ryan Phelan, Duncan Partridge and sophomore Jordan Huff will represent the Hawkeyes in Minneapolis on March 24-26.

The NCAA Championships invite 13 relay teams from the entire country. The Hawkeyes were invited to the championships with their 200-free relay, which placed third at the Big Ten Championships with a school-record time of 1:18.28. This is Iowa’s first relay to qualify since the 1995 season. The Hawkeyes can also compete in any of the other four relay events because they qualified for one relay.

“We are looking to compete in the 200 and 400-free relay,” said UI head coach Marc Long. “We may piece together a couple other relays. Since the news is kind of fresh, we haven’t decided exactly what we want to do with the other relays yet. It has been the goal of our program to get to the NCAA’s and not only to get there but to get there and score. “

Gordon’s 200-free time of 1:34.85 is fast enough to qualify him individually. Gordon is the fourth Iowa swimmer in the last decade to be invited to the NCAA Championships.

“I didn’t realize how hard it was to qualify for the NCAA Championships until my freshman year when I kind of saw the whole process,” said Gordon. “I thought of it as a goal, but never knew how hard it would be to attain it, what I would need to do or what kind of times I would need to go. Last season the whole goal was to just go to the NCAA Championships and get the time I needed and beat the people I needed to beat. I wasn’t able to do that, so I had to analyze what I had been doing all season and figure out what to do differently. It has been my goal for the last two years, so I have achieved the goal of getting there. Now my goal is to score and make the finals.”

With the Hawkeyes qualifying for a relay, any members of the relay team who have provisional NCAA ‘B’ cuts in individual events are allowed to swim those events. Along with the 200 free, Gordon will be swimming the 100-free. Partridge will be competing in the 50 and 100-free, Phelan will compete in the 50-free and Huff in the 200-free.

“We want to get up there and score, so making the meet is an expectation,” commented Long. “We do have to take a step back and realize that this group, especially when they came in, to even talk about the NCAA Championships was so far-fetched in a lot of people’s minds I think it seemed improbable. It’s very rewarding to have these guys make it. A lot of them have talked about it in the recruiting process and here they are as juniors and a sophomore and it’s a reality.”

Huff, the youngest swimmer out of the quartet, is looking forward to sharing the experience with guys he has always looked up to.

“It’s just a lot of fun,” said Huff. “I look up to these guys. They have been great training partners for me. It’s fun to feed off of them and keep swimming fast. I’m just really looking forward to getting to that national meet and representing the Hawkeyes. It is going to be a lot of fun.”

“They are going up to one of the fastest meets in the world and stepping up and feeling confident that they can race up there,” added Long. “It’s outstanding for our program and it shows that everything is heading in the right direction. We are hungry for more.”