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AquaHawks head to Iowa State

BY MITCH SMITH | DECEMBER 11, 2009 7:30 AM

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The Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Series takes to the pool today.

Fresh off a strong performance in the AT&T Short Course National Championships, the AquaHawks will head to Ames for a 6 p.m. meet with Iowa State.

The AquaHawks defeated the Cyclones last season in Iowa City, and they hold a 21-10 lead over the Cyclones in the all-time series.

“We’re really excited,” sophomore cocaptain Danielle Carty said. “This is our biggest dual meet of the season even though it isn’t a Big Ten meet, because it’s for bragging rights.”

Iowa hopes its 26th-place performance in the Short Course Nationals has the AquaHawks better prepared for this meet and for the season’s peak times in February and March.

Six AquaHawks competed against some of the best swimmers in the country from Dec. 3-5. The group was especially successful in the relays, finishing as high as sixth in the 4x50 free relay.

“Competing at Nationals gave us some great confidence in preparation for the Big Ten championships,” Iowa head swimming coach Marc Long said. “They were able to race against Olympic medalists. It was a great experience for us.”

Led by seniors Abby Glaser and Nan Liu, the Cyclones present a tough test for the AquaHawks.
Iowa State enters the meet with a 6-1 record, and the Cyclones are seeking their first win against Iowa since edging the AquaHawks in 2007.

“Iowa State has a great team this year,” Long said. “They’ve been swimming really fast — we’re going to need our best performance just to hang with them.”

The Iowa-Iowa State rivalry is just as intense in swimming as any of the other sports the two school compete in. After Iowa State defeated Iowa in 2007, the Cyclones were gloating exuberantly after the victory, Carty said.

The bitterness was apparent after talking with Iowa diving coach Bob Rydze.

“I don’t like Iowa State,” he said. “I’ve grown up with the rivalry. I respect them, but I certainly don’t like them, and I get upset when we lose to them.”

The diving team could be short-handed today. Rydze said he is unsure whether junior Veronica Rydze and freshman Mary Sue LeMay will dive today because of injuries.

“We’re a little banged up,” he said. “But we’re going to go over there and give it our shot.”

Senior Christine Kuczek hopes for continued success at this meet and beyond.

She has eight individual wins this season, and she is coming off a 20th-place finish in the 50-freestyle finals at the AT&T Short Course National Championships.

The AquaHawks have some very interesting energy on their team at this point of the season, Kuczek said.

“We’re really pumped up and ready to go,” she said. “They have things on Facebook up saying how much they want to beat us. We just use that as motivation to go fast.

“We love this meet every year because this one’s for all the marbles.”


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