Hawkeye Seniors Laid a Foundation

Feb. 2, 2012

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 — Head coach Marc Long credits his senior class for helping change the culture with the University of Iowa swimming and diving program.

Friday night, Long and the Hawkeyes will honor eight seniors — Paul Gordon, Duncan Partridge, Ryan Phelan, Sean Swibes, Brian Tremml, Danielle Carty, Daniela Cubelic and Veronica Rydze — prior to the final home dual meet of the season against Western Illinois.

“What’s great about both of these classes, both the men and women, is they signed when we were at the Field House Pool,” said Long. “During their recruiting process, I don’t think we even had a hole in the ground (for the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center).

“They believed in the program, committed to it, and have been a tremendous part of the program’s success.”

“They believed in the program, committed to it, and have been a tremendous part of the program’s success.”
UI head coach Marc Long on the eight Hawkeye seniors

During their four-year run, the men’s team has posted a 40-5 overall dual meet record and a 15-4 mark in the Big Ten Conference. Iowa climbed as high as No. 10 in the College Swimming Coaches Association of America dual meet rankings this season.

The Hawkeyes posted dual records of 7-1 in 2008-09, 10-1 in 2009-10, 7-1 in 2010-11, and the squad is currently 6-2 this season with its two defeats coming against No. 1 Arizona and 11th-ranked Ohio State.

Long says the group jumped in head-first during its first season in Iowa City.

“Right when they came in as freshmen — from our first dual meet — they solidified the change in direction,” said Long. “They’ve been important and have continued to grow as our program has grown.”

Last season, Gordon, Partridge and Phelan earned All-America honors in the 400-meter relay — the first Iowa swimmers to earn All-America honors since 2000.

“They believed and things clicked,” said Long. “They had high goals for themselves and became very loyal to the program. They loved to race, and that’s key to our program’s success.”

Between the men’s and women’s team, the eight senior student-athletes have been part of 11 school records for the Hawkeyes. Gordon holds the top time in the 100 free (43.51), Cubelic has the fastest time in the 100 back (54.32), and the class has clocked the top time in nine of the 10 relays.

“These student-athletes have provided great leadership throughout their time here and gave tremendous contributions to the program,” said Long. “They believe and have gotten others to believe. Now when freshmen come in, it’s an expectation.”

Rydze has made her mark in the diving well. Last season, she garnered All-America honors in the one-meter springboard, and she has built on that success by being named to the USA Diving National Team.

“Veronica is clearly getting better and better,” said Long. “She has had unbelievable success here. We watched her grow from the high school state champion to becoming somebody who just made the US National Team in synchro.”

While Senior Day festivities take place Friday night, it won’t be the last competition for the group in the CRWC pool. Iowa hosts the 2012 Big Ten Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships from Feb. 15-18, and the 2012 Big Ten Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships from Feb. 22-25.

“It’s not over yet for these seniors,” said Long. “There’s a lot of season left for the entire team.”