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13 Hawks to swim at Olympic Trials

[ 0 ] June 21, 2012 |

The best swimmers in the country will get in the pool from June 25 to July 2 at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb., for the United States Olympic Trials.

The Hawkeyes want to be part of the fun.

“We’ll have a great presence on deck,” recent Iowa grad Paul Gordon said. “A lot of swimming is about respect and establishing yourself as a good program for recruiting, and so you get invited to big teams.

“Iowa is fighting for a place in that.”

Thirteen current or former Hawkeye swimmers will compete next week (including two women).

Iowa coach Marc Long said that four years ago, Iowa had just one swimmer compete at the Olympic Trials.

“We’ve been slowly cooking to get up to this point and just keep getting better and better,” Long said. “This should be an expectation.

“Ultimately, if we want to compete at the level we want, the whole team should come.”

The trials will determine which swimmers will represent the United States at the Olympic Games in London this summer.

Only the top two in each race, plus the top six for relays, will advance.

The Iowa swimmers will be long shots to unseat some of the returning Olympians.

“There are Cinderella stories,” Gordon said. “There are a few.

“But this is a very established, very strong group of swimmers. It’ll be fun to see a new group of swimmers try to challenge them, but it’s tough.”

Among the swimmers heading to Omaha is Ames graduate Dustin Rhoads, who will be a junior this fall.

“I think it really helps the program to show that we have some quality swimmers and to get our name out there,” Rhoads said.

He will compete in the 100 backstroke. Rhoads — the nephew of Iowa State football coach Paul Rhoads — said they can’t worry about the times of some of the other Olympians.

“Forget about the times and focus on the little things and race,” Rhoads said. “In the end, it’s about getting your hand on the wall ahead of the other person.”

In addition to the 13 swimmers competing in Omaha, junior Manuel Belzer will compete at the German trials and former Hawkeye Duncan Partridge will swim at the Canadian trials.

Also, sophomore Heather Arseth will compete for Mauritius and incoming freshman Roman Trussov will swim for Kazakhstan.

“Swimming in the United States is the deepest of all countries by far,” Long said. “It is an honor to go, and I think that’s how a lot of our swimmers are treating it.”

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About Ryan Suchomel: Reach Ryan Suchomel at 339-7368 or rsuchomel@press-citizen.com. View author profile.

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