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Meeks signs to swim at Iowa

When Devon Meeks came to the Rosemount boys swimming and diving teams last year, Irish coach Jim Ertl knew he had something special.

Meeks had transferred to the school, and Ertl was sure his team would benefit from the presence of the speedy swimmer.

It would be more than just one addition, though. Meeks' addition added up to more than just one person in the lineup.

"It was more than just the sum of one person because I think the other kids swam up to his level," Ertl said. "We swam to a little higher level, the whole team did, which made us a better team."

Meeks signed a national letter of intent this week to swim at the University of Iowa.

He was recruited by each of the Big Ten schools and by the likes of Auburn, Florida and Texas, leading to a difficult decision.

"It's really hard telling coaches no," Meeks said. "You get letters and phone calls, just a ton. Some coaches aren't very happy when you say no, because they try really hard. But it's my decision and I have to go with my gut.

"As the recruiting got more chaotic, like when it was leading up to having to decide where to take recruiting trips, you almost have to tell them to back off. This is my decision and I have to go where I feel I fit in."

Meeks was impressed with the Iowa coaching staff, along with a newly renovated facility. He also knows one of the members of the team from his time living in South Dakota, and he has family nearby.

The fact that Iowa is within driving distance certainly helped.

"As I was flying all over and stuff, I was like, 'Man, tickets would be expensive,'" Meeks said.

Meeks also understands it's a big challenge swimming in Division I.

"Going in, I thought my time should compare," Meeks said. "But you look at it the college rosters and every single one is a state champion or record holder. It kind of hits you, 'Man, I'm not quite as good as I thought.' So, I have to put in a lot of work the next couple of years."

Meeks is ready for the challenge and hopes to begin competing for a spot as soon as his first year.

"Obviously, if you get offered a scholarship, they expect you to contribute," Meeks said.