Sougstad looks to make mark for the Iowa Swimming and Diving squad


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Iowa freshman Emma Sougstad is making some noise early on in her career as a Hawkeye.

The native of Forest City, Iowa, has shone in the two meets she’s been a part of and has so far enjoyed her experience as a Hawkeye.

“I find the program amazing,” she said. “I’m having so much fun. I’ve never really had a true team before, so it’s fun to compete against them and compete with them.”

In her season début on Sept. 27, she took first in the 50 freestyle, finished second in the 200 individual medley and the 400 relay, and third in as part of the 200 medley relay. She was also a member of the world-record 200-meter freestyle mixed relay at the Michigan Water Carnival on Sept. 28.

Going into the meet against Michigan, she wasn’t sure what the outcome would be.

“I was really nervous for Michigan,” she said. “I feel like the team helped me pull through.”

For Sougstad’s efforts in the meet, she was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week at the beginning of the month — the first Iowa swimmer to win the award since Becky Stoughton won it on Jan. 31, 2012.

After doing well at Michigan, the pressure was a little less at the annual intrasquad meet, in which she was competed for the Gold squad. Sougstad came in second in the 200 individual medley and also competed in two of the relays at the meet.

The contributions that the freshman swimmers are making haven’t gone unnoticed, especially by other team members.

“All three of the girls have really stepped up — Emma, Taylor, and Serena in all different areas,” senior Lindsay Seemann said. “There all going to be key components of this team, and they really showed that at Michigan and [Oct. 11 at the intrasquad meet].”

Sougstad said college practices can be more difficult than those in high school, and she credits the upperclassmen for all they’ve done to get her through them.

“I love all the upperclassmen — they help me out throughout practice,” she said. “I don’t think I could do it without them.”

She feels that the bond started during the first week of practice and has grown stronger ever since then.

“We played a game the first week, a get-to-know-you game, and ever since then we grew as a team, through the pool, through school, through everyday life — we’re just always with each other,” she said.

Head coach Marc Long said he likes what he’s seeing so far from the team but noted that it’s too early to start making a lot of assumptions about the freshmen and the team in general.

“I see some great things, but there’s a lot of work to do,” he said. “We just need some more experience; need to work on some things.”

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