Wartalowicz leads Iowa women's swimming into Northwestern Invitational


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Swimming toward their sixth-straight victory in the pool, the Iowa women’s swimming and diving team will return to action on today in Evanston, Illi., at the Northwestern Invitational. 

The women (6-1) will swim both today and Saturday against Northwestern, Nebraska, and Ohio State. The only difference being that they will only score against Nebraska and Ohio State, both very good competitors, Iowa head coach Marc Long said.

“It is going to be pretty tough competition. Nebraska beat us at our invitational in the fall, and Ohio State is a really strong team,” Long said. “We really have to step up. The intent of this meet is to experience Big Ten competition in a really intense environment.”

Iowa has won five-straight meets, thanks, in large part, to sophomore Becky Stoughton and juniors Lindsay Seemann and Karolina Wartalowicz. All three had their hand in three different victories in last weekend’s 162-120 win over Northwestern. It’s such performances that will give the Hawkeyes the confidence they need going into a pressure-packed invitational this weekend.

“It definitely gave us a boost going into this weekend, going into Ohio State, which finished in the top three of the Big Ten last year,” Wartalowicz said. “So it’s really nice to get into a good mindset going into racing.”

With the Big Ten championships right around the corner, the Hawkeyes are going to need to continue winning and continue building up their confidence. However, this weekend is a little bit of a switch from what they have been used to the last couple weeks. A different format for the meet requires a different preparation schedule.

“You have to take care of yourself more for an invitational; it is a lot more fast-paced, and you are trying to score as many points as possible,” Wartalowicz said. “It’s more intense because it reminds you of the championship meet and basically your biggest goals of the season.”

Repeatedly over the last couple weeks, both the swimming and diving teams have stressed how focused and ready to go they are to starting competing in the championship portion of the season. That list includes diving head coach Todd Waikel.

“We’re not really preparing for this weekend, but we’re preparing for Big Tens and zones,” he said. “I tell them a lot that every meet is an opportunity to perform and shine and show your stuff, but really, we have our eyes set on the Big Tens.”

Although Waikel said his diving teams are preparing for Big Tens, that doesn’t mean that the divers are overlooking their competition this weekend.

“We want to perform well at the dual meets, that’s the goal; we always want to perform at the highest level,” Waikel said. “We have to keep training and keep working out the bugs and kinks.”

Big Tens may be on the horizon, but there are still two meets before the teams take off for Minneapolis. Along with this weekend’s invitational, Iowa will return home for Senior Night when Western Illinois pays a visit on Feb. 8th.

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