Hawkeye swimming approaches season opener


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The Iowa women’s swimming and diving team sees the potential this season has to offer. With fresh faces and dominating leaders, the Hawkeyes are excited to get back into the pool.

“We have great energy, and it is exciting to be developing such young talent,” head coach Marc Long said at the Hawkeye media day Wednesday.

The rebuilding process this year has potential for the Hawkeyes, but the team members are most enthusiastic to prepare for the months of February and March, the start of the road to the NCAA championships.

“This doesn’t change our preparation,” Long said. “The team has a feeling of hunger and is ready to step up.”

The attitude in the pool enhances the preparation for what it takes to become a Hawkeye swimmer.
This is especially true for sophomore Emma Sougstad, who is ranked 44th worldwide in the 50-meter breaststroke.

“I’m just excited to get the season kicked off,” the Forest City, Iowa, native said. “I have set higher goals this season for myself that I hope to accomplish.”

But it is not just the individual goals that the Hawkeyes hope to obtain — coming together as a team and setting team goals have these Hawkeyes preparing to become the best.

“They are excited for the opportunity as a team, and they are excited to be Hawkeyes,” Long said.

Rebuild and reload

The excitement doesn’t stop there. Iowa will kick off its season Friday against top competitors Michigan and Nebraska.

As a byproduct of losing 11 seniors after last season, 12 freshmen are on the roster this season, and returning swimmers couldn’t be more eager to see who wants it more.  

“The new freshmen on our team bring a new aspect to our training,” senior captain Becky Stoughton said.

For her, it is her first time since her freshman season that she has felt comfortable in the pool.

“I wouldn’t go back in the water [this season] if I didn’t feel in control,” Stoughton said, who is coming off two ankle injuries her sophomore year and a right shoulder injury her junior year. “It’s my first time since freshman year that I feel in control.”

Stoughton will be a leader of the team — she earned a spot as one of the captains for the Hawkeyes. She will engage in the rebuilding process of the freshmen alongside Long, who is ready to reload.
“They are all at a different level,” Long said. “We hope to see a lot of growth.”

Youth meets excitement

The combination of these two elements set the stage for what seems to be an exciting season of new expectations as well as a year of development.

Despite the high-level opponents the Hawkeyes will face, Long couldn’t seem to stray away from the words “rebuild” or “excited.” These words may have some questioning the success of the season, but it has many eager to see the long-term development of the team.

The Hawkeyes love of swimming brings them together and makes them competitive as the excitement and hunger builds before they dive into the pool Friday.

“We are reloading, and we are excited to see who will step up,” Long said.

Follow @shelbystites on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa women’s swimming and diving team.

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