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Women’s swimming heads to Big Ten championships

BY MITCH SMITH | FEBRUARY 17, 2010 7:30 AM

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Today is what the Iowa women’s swimming and diving team has built toward all season. Everything comes down to the next four days.

When the Big Ten championships begin this evening in West Lafayette, Ind., the Hawkeyes hope to improve on last season’s ninth-place performance. However, it’s another star-studded field this year, with six Big Ten schools ranked in the top-25.

Despite the low finish last year, Iowa saw seven school records fall.

While the conference is deep, Iowa head swimming coach Marc Long said he likes where his team is at right now. The squad closed out the regular season with wins against Western Illinois and Northern Iowa.

“We like the challenge of being in this conference,” Long said. “This is just another step in the program’s development this year and on to next year. Our goal is to step up and have our peak meet of the season.”



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In order to have a standout meet, senior Christine Kuczek said, the Hawkeyes need to listen to the advice of Long and “let the performance come out.”

“Everyone kind of knows that we’ve put in the work, and we deserve to swim fast,” she said. “It’s really easy to swim fast. You just have to let it come out and trust in all the work we’ve done this season.”

The Hawkeyes’ objectives will be twofold. The squad needs strong performances from its veteran swimmers in individual events, as well as being effective in the relays.

Six swimmers had top-25 finishes in the Big Ten meet last year — seniors Julie Feingold and Kuczek, juniors Katarina Tour and Verity Hicks, and sophomores Daniela Cubelic and Danielle Carty — the best finish being an eighth-place mark in the 100 breaststroke by Tour.

The relay events also hold importance since they are worth double the points and serve as a momentum booster for the swimmers if the relays are going well.

“Relays tend to be kind of like a groundwork for how the meet is progressing,” Kuczek said. “It kind of motivates everyone to do well in her individual race.”

The Hawkeyes best mark in the relay events was also eighth-place. Iowa finished eighth in all five relay events last year.

While the physical aspects of the meet are significant, the team also needs to stay strong mentally. Keeping a positive mindset and not letting one bad race affect the rest is imperative.

“We need to keep our attitudes up,” Feingold said. “We’re up against really great competition, and sometimes it’s intimidating. I know we can do it, it’s just a matter of continually thinking positive.”


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