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Women’s swimming hosts senior night

BY MAGGIE CUNNINGHAM | FEBRUARY 04, 2011 7:10 AM

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The women’s swimming and diving team is gearing up for its last competition of the regular season.

For eight Hawkeyes, this will be their last home meet.

Iowa will host Western Illinois and Northern Iowa at 6 p.m. today in the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center’s Natatorium after honoring the team’s eight seniors.

Caitlin Carlyle, Deidre Freeman, Verity Hicks, Christine Mauro, Kelsie Neubauer, Caitie Polz, Veronica Rydze, and Katarina Tour will be recognized for their four-year commitment to the team.

“They have been a part of the program really in great change, with the new facility,” head coach Marc Long said. “We’re excited to honor them, and it’s always better swimming at senior meets.”

The move from the Field House to the Rec Center marked a major turning point in the program, and the seniors are grateful they were part of the experience.

“Well to me, [the Rec Center and Field House] seem like two different worlds of competing,” Freeman said. “Now, in the new pool, it’s just different. It kind of feels like a new school almost, but it was really nice to be able to appreciate something like this.”

The swimming and diving facility at the Field House made the Hawkeyes the only Big Ten team without access to a 50-meter pool, and the diving setup did not meet the required heights. The Rec Center’s Natatorium is a state-of-the-art facility that was constructed with the competitive athlete in mind.

Tonight’s senior presentation will be a sad yet proud moment for the graduating Hawkeyes. Each senior and her parents will be announced and given a rose on the pool deck before the competition kicks off.

“It’s sad, but it’s a really big achievement,” Polz said. “Looking back on it, I’m really happy that I did it. And all that hard work … I can’t believe it’s been four years.”

Four years of Division-I athletics require a maximum amount of dedication, and the rewards of the time put in have become more obvious to the veterans as they finish up the regular season.

“I am definitely going to miss being in my top physical condition,” Polz said “Knowing that you can’t push yourself any harder every day is a really good feeling.”

More than the training and the sport itself, the seniors will miss their teammates and the camaraderie.

“I’ve made some really good friends on the team,” Hicks said. “And it’s going to be weird not seeing them every day. We are with each other 20 hours-plus a week, so that will be hard at first.”

Though parting with the program and the sport will be difficult, the seniors are prepared for a new chapter to their lives.

“I almost feel like I’m ready to take a new step in my life,” Hicks said. “I mean swimming has been such a huge part of my life, so it will be hard to give it up, but I’m kind of ready for something new.”

Some Hawkeyes are looking forward to the break from intense training every day, and whether they return to swimming or not, they say the experience has been fulfilling.

“My four years have been amazing,” Polz said. “Just being on a D-1 team in college is life-changing. I would be a totally different person without it, and I know that sounds stupid, but it’s true.”


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