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Swimmer finds new home with Hawkeyes

BY MITCH SMITH | FEBRUARY 16, 2010 7:30 AM

Rob Johnson/The Daily Iowan
Iowa junior swimmer Christine Mauro stands in the water after a practice in the Field House on Monday.
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Christine Mauro needed a change.

After two and a half years of swimming in Tempe, Ariz., the junior left sunny Arizona State and relocated to Iowa City, choosing to transfer midyear and join the Hawkeye swimming and diving program.

Changes in the Sun Devil coaching staff and the overall environment, in addition to a torn right calf muscle had Mauro seeking a new start for her swimming career.

That fresh start led her to Iowa. She had friends on the squad, and the UI campus is closer to her home in Lake Forest, Ill.

Iowa head swimming coach Marc Long said he was familiar with Mauro’s swimming background. She attended the same high school as senior swimmer Hilary Leigh and swam for a club that many Hawkeyes have come from.

Rather than redshirting, Mauro chose to start swimming and finish out the 2009-10 season, competing in dual meets since Jan. 16.

Although she had friends at Iowa and even knew a couple of the swimmers, she said there were some nerves about joining a new team midway through the season.

“I was worried about coming in and being the ‘new girl,’ ” she said. “I was just nervous about how I would fit in.”

But the nervousness quickly evaporated, and the transition couldn’t have been more natural.

Since joining the Hawkeyes, Mauro has helped boost Iowa in the distance events — her specialty.
She scored third-place finishes in the 1,000 free against Illinois and Northwestern and a seventh-place finish in the 1,650 free at the Shamrock Invitational last month. She also closed out the regular-season on a positive note, taking first for the Hawkeyes in the 500 free against Western Illinois and Northern Iowa on Feb. 5.

Picking up that first victory at Iowa was a good feeling, Mauro said, and she would have been disappointed had she lost.

“It made me actually realize I was finally a Hawkeye,” she said.

Not only has Mauro had an effect in the pool, but her “bubbly” attitude has rubbed off on the team, said Iowa assistant swimming coach Nathan Mundt.

“You never know what’s going to happen when people come in midyear,” he said. “She’s really adapted easily. She’s had a great attitude and is very excited to be here. I think that’s really brought some excitement to the team.”

With the Big Ten championships in West Lafayette, Ind., only two days away, Mauro hopes to swim her best times and earn some points for her new team.

“I’m excited to be racing for Iowa,” she said. “It’s all just hitting me right now that I’m transferred, and I’m part of the team. I’m excited to swim as fast as I can and do what I do best.”


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