The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Minnesota’s conference to lose at the Big Ten championship meet

More than once this season Marc Long, Iowa’s head swimming head coach, called the Big Ten Championship meet one of the fastest meets in the country.

His statement is not hyperbole. The Big Ten Championships are arguably the fastest conference meet in the country, with the SEC championship competing also competing for that title.

Minnesota is the defending champion, and this season is their conference to lose, but the Gophers could be challenged by the Michigan Wolverines, Indiana Hoosiers, Wisconsin Badgers.

Indiana and Michigan are perennial Big Ten powers. But Wisconsin could move up from last season’s sixth place finish.

The Badgers added Florida transfer Danielle Valley, an Olympic Trial finalist in 2012, after the New Year’s Day and have Ivy Martin, the best sprinter in the Big Ten. However, they are not deep enough to take the title from the Gophers.

As far as Iowa’s finish at this season’s league tournament, Long did not give a specific place.

“I never even predict that,” Long said. “One of the main objectives of this meet is to get people to NCAAs.”

While the NCAA meet is right around the corner, the Hawkeyes will look to improve upon their eighth place finish from Big Tens a season ago. 

However, The addition of Rutgers to the Big Ten presents an unknown for the Hawkeyes, who haven’t swam against the Scarlet Knights.

The Hawkeyes will also have to deal with Northwestern, which upset the Hawkeyes in a dual meet on Jan. 24th.

Despite the new addition to the conference and the upset-minded Wildcats, the Hawkeyes still have solid prospects to move up in the Big Ten and defeat both Northwestern and Rutgers.

Sophomore Emma Sougstad is a title contender in the 100 breaststroke, where she currently ranks second in the conference. She also sits fourth in the 200 breaststroke, though she will need a significant time drop to take the title.

“We’re just going to let the training come through,” Sougstad said. “The team will pull us through.”

In the middle of the pack are Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue. The middle becomes a toss up, as all three teams have stars but not enough depth across the board to move up and challenge the top four.

With solid swimming and relay finishes, Iowa could move into the top seven.

Michigan State and Illinois are at the bottom of the conference. Iowa dominated both teams in dual meets this season, and neither should threaten the Hawkeyes.

With that said, Iowa will have its hands full in what could really be the fastest conference meet in the country. Expectations have not changed however, the whole team would like to see fast swims all the way through the meet.

“There’s a lot of good swimmers in my events in the Big Ten,” senior Becky Stoughton said. “I want to see a lot of school records fall.”

Follow @IanFromIowa on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa swimming and diving team.

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