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Iowa women swimmers and divers winning meets; preparing for championship season

BY JORDAN HANSEN | JANUARY 30, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Iowa women swimmers and divers are on a roll. Since a fourth place finish at the Hawkeye Invitational, head coach Marc Long’s squad has won four of its last five dual meets — with the only loss coming to an 11th ranked Indiana squad.

There are numerous reasons for the recent success of the Hawkeyes, which may start with the injury bug not affecting nearly as many swimmers as it did to start off the season. The most obvious injury early in the season was to Becky Stoughton, who missed several meets at the beginning of the campaign due to an undisclosed injury.

This year, the Hawkeyes are winning duals down the stretch, something they also did last year. In fact, last season the women had a six dual win streak, which only ended in a loss to a very good Ohio State squad.

Another important and often underrated aspect to success is team chemistry. It’s especially important with a young team such as Iowa’s, where many of the contributors are underclassmen.

“I think one of the main things that was good for us was the Nebraska meet — I feel like we really took off from there,” senior Abby Tuchscherer said. “It was a really fun trip because all the girls really just came together and it’s been a fantastic ride from there.”

The Hawkeyes also benefitted from a training trip to San Diego, where, due to relaxed NCAA restrictions, they were allowed more practice time. The trip also prepares swimmers for the rigors of the home stretch of the regular season and into the championship part of their schedule.

“As we move into championship season the practices get more intense and shorter but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel — this is what we’ve worked all for all year,” senior Karolina Wartalowicz said. “Our team is very cohesive right now, everyone’s rooting for each other regardless of what you swim and we’re just sticking together.”

The move to championship season is a big step from the duals that the Hawks have been dominating, but several meets this season are set up to mimic the type of competition that will be faced during these events, which take place over the course of a full day. The aforementioned Hawkeye Invitational and this weekend’s Shamrock Invitational are examples of those type of meets.

These events are important when considering how well Iowa will do during championship time. Long is also confident that his team will race well in one of its final tune-ups before the Big Ten Championships.

“I feel that the swimmers are really stepping up and taking charge of what they need to do and racing well,” Long said. “As we progress into the championship season, this weekend, the reason we go to this meet is just all about racing. We have tons of races and each individual gets to swim more of a championship style of events with a real short rest window.”

The team’s strong dual performances could very well be signs of what this team will be able to do in the postseason. A certain kind of confidence seems to be spreading through the team. The type that comes when a team begins to win — something these Iowa swimmers and divers have figured out.


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