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Seniors end senior night with victory

BY MAGGIE CUNNINGHAM | FEBRUARY 07, 2011 7:10 AM

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Iowa ended Senior Night perfectly.

Caitlin Carlyle reached the wall just one second ahead of her opponents, and four of Iowa’s seniors — Christine Mauro, Caitie Polz, Katarina Tour, and Carlyle — won the 200 freestyle relay, posting a time of 1:38.95 in the competition’s last event.

The Hawkeyes hosted Western Illinois and Northern Iowa on Feb. 4 for Senior Night in the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center’s Natatorium.

Iowa dominated the Leathernecks, 79-22, and the Panthers, 77-27. The Hawkeyes won every event and swept a few races, as well. It was the team’s last home meet before the championship season begins.

“It felt good to get a win heading into Big Tens,” junior Daniela Cubelic said. “We have been racing some tough competitors lately, so it’s nice to come out on top.”

The Hawkeyes’ last three competitions resulted in tough losses to strong teams. At the Shamrock Invitational, Iowa took fourth out of four teams. Prior to that meet in South Bend, Ind., the team struggled against Northwestern’s depth, ultimately losing, 191.5-104.5, on Jan. 22. And the competition at Illinois on Jan. 15 resulted in another disappointing loss, 174-126.

“[The win] definitely builds up our confidence,” Polz said. “But even with those loses, we have to take them as just another opportunity to race fast and overall, prepare ourselves for Big Tens.”

The Big Ten championships will begin on Feb. 16 in Bloomington, Ind.

A team goal for the Hawkeyes this year was to move up in the Big Ten, and the Feb. 4 competition allowed the team to fine-tune some of its races.

The competition against Western Illinois and Northern Iowa was considered a sprint meet. The events were shorter, and Iowa was able to work the overall speed of each race in a competitive atmosphere.

The 200 freestyle was Iowa’s most impressive race. Freshman Emily Christensen took first with a time of 1:55.05 and freshman Taylor Newgaard finished second at 1:57.09. Sophomore Lauren Eytalis followed Newgaard in third, recording a time of 1:58.00, while another Hawkeye, Aiste Dobrovolskaite, came in fourth with a time of 1:58.11.

“Iowa’s program has a bright future,” Cubelic said. “We have been improving year by year, and the freshman class really shows it. They are able to step up and race no matter what the circumstances are, which is what our program is focused on.

“They have done a great job of it all year, and we expect nothing less heading into Big Tens.”

Nearing the end of the long season, the Hawkeyes are relying on their training and conditioning to help them be successful in Bloomington, Ind.

“I need to train the same as I have for the last few weeks,” said Deidre Freeman, who took first in both the 1- and 3-meter dives. “I’m not going to train hard because it makes me think too much. At this point in the season, there’s not too much else I can do to prepare for this meet in a week.”

Iowa is striving to find focus this week and “not thinking” is the way to do that.

“If we go to Big Tens with confidence and positive energy, there is no doubt the meet will be a success,” Cubelic said. “Everything is in place for us; now is the time to execute.”


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