Jack Smith is a sophomore freestyler on the University of Iowa men’s swimming and diving program. The Stoke-On-Trent, England, native qualified for the 2016 NCAA Championships in two events — 200 and 400-medley relays — as a freshman and he posted NCAA “B” qualifying times in the 50, 100, and 200-yard freestyle events. He is majoring in sport recreation management.
How would you describe your first season as a Hawkeye?
“It was a good season. It could have been better in some places, but overall it was a good season. I was happy with a few swims and could have done better on a few swims. It was a good first year.”
What was that experience like competing at the NCAA Championships?
“It was bigger than I thought it would be. I have been in national competitions in Europe and swimming at NCAAs was different. Everyone there is elite, everyone is top-20 in the country. There are some guys that won gold in Rio that were there. It is something good to aim for and look forward to. Hopefully I can go back and do better this year.”
How motivated are you to make it back this season?
“I am very motivated. I am getting back into shape. These next two to three months are a grind and come the new year, we will start focusing more on speed and technique. At the moment we take every day as it comes and enjoy it.”
Where do you see the most improvement from last season until now?
“I am more lean. Last year I wasn’t as in shape as I wanted to be. I am not living in the dorms anymore, so that helps a lot and I can eat my own food. I am continuing to work hard in the weight room and do everything that the coaches tell me.”
What is the best part about being a Hawkeye?
“Everyone is so close in this program. There are 60 of us or so on the team and it is one big family. If someone is nervous or down, there is always someone there for you. That’s the best part for me.”
What did your summer consist of this year?
“I went home for a month. I finished NCAAs and finished training in April and I swam for a few weeks and went home for a month. I hadn’t been home all year. After that I came back and trained once or twice a day and took a few classes. I didn’t race because I couldn’t go to Olympic Trials because it was Americans only.“
What was the biggest highlight from your freshman season?
“The highlight was winning bronze at the Big Ten Championships in the 400-medley relay. It is only a bronze, but it was a big thing for us. I was a freshman, Kenneth (Mende), the backstroker, was a freshman, and JT (Jerzy Twarowski) was a sophomore, and Roman (Trussov) was a senior. We’re still a young team, which is exciting because we still have two more years together at the Big Tens. It was only Michigan and Indiana that beat us and they’re two big swimming schools.“
What led you to the University of Iowa from England?
“I was at a boarding school and my coach was trying to keep me there, but I didn’t want to stay because I had been there for six years. I put my name on a website and (UI assistant coach) Nathan (Mundt) got in touch with me and Iowa was one of the first schools on the first day. They brought me over for a trip and the pool is amazing; it’s one of the best pools I have ever been to. The people are friendly and Iowa is a good school in one of the best conferences.”