February 2019

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Page 26 of 190

27 T he calendar has turned to February, meaning it is championship season for the University of Iowa swimming and diving team. In 2019, a portion of the championship season will take place in Iowa City. e Hawkeyes host the Big Ten Men's Swimming and Diving Championships from Feb. 27 through March 2 at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center Natatorium. "I'm looking forward to hosting Big Tens," said senior Jack Smith, who posted five top-six finishes at the 2018 Big Ten Championships. "I've known about this since before freshman year during my recruiting process. Aer waiting four years, it's finally here, and I can't wait for the feeling of knowing the fans in the stands will be behind us." e last championship meet hosted in Iowa City was in 2015, when the university hosted both the Big Ten and NCAA Championships. e Hawkeyes are excited to have that atmosphere back at home this season. "Our league is very competitive," said Iowa head coach Marc Long. "We've trained for these types of environments and I believe the team is ready to take on any challenge thrown its way." Smith and junior Joe Myhre are familiar with championship swimming, as both competed at the NCAA Championships in 2018. Smith qualified individually in the 100 freestyle aer setting the school record of 42.71 seconds at the Big Ten Championships in Minneapolis. Both Myhre and Smith swam on the NCAA- qualifying 200-free relay and 400-free relay with Will Scott and Matt Kamin. Both relays currently hold school records and the quartet earned honorable-mention All-America honors in the 200. Myhre knows the challenge that awaits the team in the Big Ten. "e Big Ten Championships is an elite meet with world-class swimmers in every event," said Myhre. "It's special to host this meet while I'm still here swimming. It gives us the chance to show our conference what the University of Iowa is all about." It takes a dedicated, well- trained athlete to place well at Big Tens and qualify for the NCAA Championships. Long and the Hawkeye coaching staff have been preparing the team for these two meets all season. "I'm feeling good at this point in the season," said Myhre. "I'm confident in my training, both in the pool and in the weight room. Overall, the team and I are very excited." Smith and Myhre have ambitious goals, both at the Big Ten meet and beyond. "I would love to podium and score as many points as I can for my team at Big Tens and qualify individually for the NCAA Championships," said Myhre. "Our freestyle relays are strong this year," said Smith. "We've had the goal of winning a title the past two years and look to achieve it this season. e home pool advantage should help us do that." Tickets are 2019 Big Ten Championships are available at hawkeyesports.com/tickets. FEBRUARY SCHEDULE Feb. 1 Northern Iowa (W) Feb. 1 Western Illinois (M/W) Feb. 20-23 Big Ten Championships (W) Feb. 27-March 2 Big Ten Championships (M)

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