Swimmers' bid for revenge falls just short


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The Iowa women's swimming and diving team entered the Hawkeye Invitational looking for revenge.

It came up just short.

The Hawkeyes finished in third place, just 3.5 points behind second-place Denver, the team that won last year's Hawkeye Invitational. The near miss came as a disappointment for the team.

"It really goes to show you that every single person and every single race matters," senior captain Daniela Cubelic said. "Three-and-a-half points, after a meet like this — three days, six sessions, tons of races. I'm sure all the girls right now are just thinking about what they could have done differently, and we're definitely looking to change that against Iowa State [on Friday]."

Assistant coach Kirk Hampleman said the team performed well enough over the first two days of the meet to put itself in position for a second-place finish, but it could have done more to help itself in the preliminaries. Had the Hawkeyes done that, their "outstanding" performances in the finals could have made more of an impact.

"As a team, we needed to do a little better in the morning," he said. "That's where you earn your place so you can score at night; if we'd had a few people do just a touch better in the morning, maybe we're not losing by 3.5 points to Denver; we're winning by 20 or 30 points."

Among the top weekend performers for the Black and Gold was freshman Becky Stoughton. The Peoria, Ill., native broke her own school records in the 500 freestyle and 400 individual medley on consecutive days, in addition to tallying a victory in the 200 freestyle.

But her unbeaten streak came to an end on the final day as she fell in the 1,650 freestyle to Michigan's Adrienne Bicek, a two-time NCAA qualifier in the event. Stoughton's time of 16:28.18 was just 0.27 away from the school record.

Hampleman praised Stoughton's endurance throughout the meet, as she swam a "tough lineup" of races; the freshman swam the 200 and 500 freestyles twice, the 400 individual medley twice, the 1,650 once, and all of the distance relays.

The freshman said she wasn't satisfied with her performance in the 1,650, but she still sees the grueling lineup and the second-place finish as a positive experience.

"I knew it was going to be tough, but it's one of those things you just have to experience," she said. "I'm honestly glad [the weekend] went that way, because now I know what to expect. I'm ready to go, pumped. I know that I've got to be 'on' all the time; there's no resting point where you're just like 'OK, it'll be a good day, a relaxing day.'

"You've just got to be on all the time."

Hampleman said the team's energy was key in its overall performance, and he stressed the need to carry that energy over to the Iowa State meet on Friday. Cubelic said she doesn't think that will be a problem.

"Iowa State is one of our biggest rivals, so we're pretty much always energized against them," she said. "If we bring the same intensity, same focus, and same energy to that meet, I have no doubt in my mind it will turn out in our favor."

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