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Women's swimming and diving hopes to send Hawkeyes to the NCAAs

BY MAGGIE CUNNINGHAM | NOVEMBER 30, 2010 7:20 AM

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Junior Daniela Cubelic and senior Katarina Tour — who are both among Iowa's all-time top women's swimmers — have the same personal goal: to reach the NCAA championships in their respective events.

"As a senior, I think about the NCAAs at every competition and every practice," Tour said. "It is in my mind all the time."

Cubelic and Tour have both been successful in many different events, but their chances of reaching the NCAA championships come down to their strongest events.

Cubelic is consistent in freestyle events, as well asthe backstroke. She is among the top-10 best times in school history in four individual events, and she has made six top-10 appearances in five different relays. If Cubelic is going to qualify for the NCAA championships, however, she said it would likely be in the 100 or 200 backstroke.

"My goal this year is to qualify for the NCAAs," Cubelic said. "If it's not in a relay, then I want to do it individually. It has been something that I wanted to do for the past few years, and I just haven't been able to reach that point yet."

Tour is similarly known for her versatility.

She holds four places in the school's top-10 best times for four individual events — three of which are school records. She has also contributed to nine relay times that fall in the top-five best times in school history. The 100 breaststroke has been her strongest race of the season, and it's the most realistic chance she has of reaching the NCAAs.

Her current 100 breaststroke record is 1:01.45.

Cubelic and Tour have proved to be exceptional swimmers in the company of Hawkeyes and in the Big Ten, but they will have to do their best to reach greatness beyond their conference.

"We are striving for this every year," coach Marc Long said. "And every year, we want to be knocking off our school records. It is great to have that this season, and their experience is great to have also."

While it is less likely that any of the Hawkeye relay teams will make it to the NCAAs, that goal is not out of reach.

The Hawkeyes stayed with Wisconsin's nationally ranked 200-medley relay and came even closer to Minnesota's 200-medley relay — an equally tough opponent.

"Anything is possible, and [the medley relays] are our strongest relays," Cubelic said. "We have been performing well in them all year, and we have great options. So I think we will make the best of what we have and see what happens."

Junior Danielle Carty, another one of Iowa's all-time top performers, has been struggling with a mild ankle injury since the start of the season. She did not compete in the dual meet against Minnesota, which the Hawkeyes lost, 180-114. Her absence may have slowed the 200-medley relay.

The Hawkeyes have high expectations for the season, but the NCAA championships don't begin until March 17 in Austin, Texas, and the team has a long season ahead of it.

"It's hard to say how things will shake out," Long said. "We are battling some injuries and some other midseason things, so it will be interesting to see what happens."


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