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Iowa swimmers prepared for final test before break

BY TORK MASON | DECEMBER 09, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Iowa women's swimming and diving team will hit the road tonight to travel to Ames for a showdown with Iowa State.

The Hawkeyes are coming off of a third-place finish at the Hawkeye Invitational on Dec. 2-4, an event in which several personal-best times were posted and school records were broken. Iowa State's last competition was in the Northwestern Invitational in Evanston, Ill., on Nov. 18-20; the Cyclones finished third, behind Northwestern and Illinois.

The Hawkeyes had what they called "great" energy in their last meet, and they said they'll need to carry that energy over to tonight's meet.

"We want to bring our energy there," senior captain Daniela Cubelic said. "I know we're not going to have more fans than [Iowa State] — we just have to keep our cool, focus on our races, and just bring the focus and energy we had at the Hawkeye Invitational."

Head coach Marc Long said he feels good about his team's energy level and the team is at a crossroads in its season.

"There's no doubt it's tough to come off an invitational and go right in — just a few days later — to a big rivalry meet," the eighth-year head coach said. "That'll be a challenge for us, but [the team] seems to be in good position right now."

Long said the team is entering its winter training program, which involves more long-distance workouts, and he noted that the stresses of finals week can wear on athletes.

But Danielle Carty said the Hawkeyes are prepared for that.

"Ever since I was a freshman, we always talk about [finals week] like a month before the invitational," the Ontario, Canada, native said. "I was always told by the seniors: 'Make sure you're ahead on school and you're keeping up with everything,' because it does hit you all at once. So we've been preparing the girls in advance so they know what to expect this week."

Cubelic said the team is right where it needs to be in terms of its development for the Big Ten and NCAA championships in the spring. But while she admitted she's excited about those meets, the Black and Gold won't overlook Iowa State.

"We're doing really well; we've had some great training, both this week and last week — really the whole season," she said. "We're racing so much faster than we did last year at this point. It's really exciting heading into championship season, but we're taking this meet very seriously."

Carty said she expects the Cyclones to be ready to defend their home pool tonight, which is something the home team has done frequently in the series.

"Iowa hasn't won in Ames in quite a few years, and Iowa State hasn't won in our pool," she said. "We definitely want to break that record, and we definitely want to swim fast [tonight] because we're expecting them to do well."

She said the Hawkeyes feel extra motivation against an in-state rival.

"We're not just swimming for ourselves," she said. "We're swimming for the alumni and for the university."

The meet will begin at 6 p.m. at Beyer Hall Pool. Live results will be available at live.iowaswimming.com


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