Iowa Alumni Magazine | April 2009 | News

Bearded Brothers

By Shelbi Thomas

It’s been a hairy season for the UI men’s swimming team—in and out of the pool.

In a team-bonding exercise also designed to give them a physical and psychological edge in competitions, nearly the entire squad—including head coach Marc Long, 91BS—decided to grow beards. As the stubble grew, so did the team’s success. The swimmers claimed their best season record since 1995, ending 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten. They posted ten of the conference’s 14 top individual swimming times, and sophomore Conor Dwyer twice earned Big Ten Men’s Swimmer of the Week honors.

As they headed into the Big Ten Championships in Indiana in February, the team members picked up their razors for the first time in weeks. Apart from the psychological impact, they hoped the clean-shaven look would lead to reduced drag in the water.

Unfortunately, the team’s hair-raising efforts didn’t help their overall standings (the Hawkeyes placed ninth at the meet), but several individual swimmers broke long-standing school records.

The team’s perfect, 4-0 home record in the Field House pool this season proved bittersweet. When the new UI Recreation and Wellness Center opens next year, the squad will relocate to that facility. To bid farewell to its historic training quarters, the team will be inviting all former UI swimmers and divers back to campus in April 2010 for an alumni meet at the Field House.