Freshman Swimmer New to U.S.


Nov. 23, 2015

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    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. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.


    IOWA CITY, Iowa — England native Jack Smith is experiencing more than the average college student, having traveled more than 4,000 miles to swim for the University of Iowa.


    A star swimmer as a youngster, the Stoke-On-Trent native has won multiple national titles, broken records, and competed on the international level all before deciding on where to go to college.

    “I owe it all to my mom.” Smith said. “She was quite a good swimmer.”

    Smith started swimming competitively when he was nine thanks to his soccer coach.

    “I got a bad injury playing soccer,” Smith said. “My coach told me I needed to stop playing soccer because my swimming was a lot better. “

    When the time came to look for a college, Smith hadn’t given it much thought as to what was next. Then he was contacted by coaches in the United States.

    “One of the coaches got in touch with me and asked if I would be interested in coming to America,” Smith said. “I didn’t really think about it before that. I was in talks for a couple months and came over for a trip and I really liked it. Everything goes together well with the education and swimming.”

    Smith wasn’t hindered by the distance either because of his past experiences.

    “I went to boarding school in England for six years,” Smith said. “Being away from home was always something that I felt was quite important for me. I can grow by myself and make my own choices.”

    The switch from swimming in meters to yards has been something Smith has had to adjust to since arriving in Iowa City this past summer.

    “That’s the one big thing,” he said. “One hundred yards is 91 meters so it’s shorter and that’s nice, but that means you are taking one and a half less strokes. For the first two months it was different. It has affected me a little bit because it kind of gets to you.”

    Still getting used to the lengths in America, Smith believes he will get faster as he becomes more comfortable. Early on this season, Smith is leading the Hawkeyes in both the 100 and 200 freestyle events with times of 45.29 and 1:40.72. He is also part of the top 400 free, 800 free, and 400-medley relays.

    “I feel like as soon as I get used to the distance I will start swimming faster than I am now,” Smith said. But the best part for Smith may not be the swimming team, but the Iowa football team.

    “I didn’t expect that I would like American football,” he said. “Everyone at home doesn’t really get into it, but when you go to the game and experience it, you get so into that it’s hard not to like it.”

    Iowa returns to action Dec. 4-6, hosting the Hawkeye Invitational at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center Natatorium.

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