By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — During the first weekend in October, the University of Iowa will celebrate 100 years of its swimming and diving program.
Iowa’s program started in 1917 with David Armbruster as head coach. In its 100 year history, it has spanned just five head coaches.
“Like any great institution, what makes this institution special is the people,” said Iowa head coach Marc Long. “This place takes care of the people that are involved with the programs. The athletics department supports that and when you go through the history, there are tremendous people that are loyal to the program and university.
“That makes it a special place to be.”
The Hawkeyes will welcome back alums — both old and new — for alumni weekend when Iowa opens the 2017-18 season with duals against Michigan State and Northern Iowa on Oct. 5-6 at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center.
Thursday’s competition begins at 7 p.m. (CT); Friday’s action is set for 10 a.m. There will also be an alumni meet at 2 p.m. at the CRWC on Friday before alums can take part in the university’s annual Homecoming festivities. A program will follow at Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City that evening.
“We’re looking forward to the joy and fun of having so many of our alums coming back from the swimmers and divers to the assistant coaches, managers, fans, and supporters” said former head coach Glenn Patton, who led the Hawkeyes from 1976-1998. “We’re looking forward to everyone coming back, socializing, and reminiscing. It will be a great weekend to have so many athletes returning to campus.”
An alum from the 1940s and an Olympian from the 1950s are among those set to make their way back to Iowa City. People are returning from all over the world.
“This place is so special,” said Long. “We have people scattered throughout the world and have people coming back from places like New Zealand and Norway to this place where they blossomed as a young adult.”
The alums will have an opportunity to mingle on the Field House Pool deck on Saturday morning before taking in the Iowa-Illinois football game on Oct. 7.
“I love talking with the alums because of their commitment and loyalty to the University of Iowa,” said Long. “I don’t know how it can be matched.”
“It will be great welcoming everyone back,” said Bob Rydze, who spent 37 years as Iowa’s diving coach. “It will be a lot of reminiscing and I think a lot of the tales will get taller as we talk through the weekend. I’m looking forward to it.”