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BY SHELBY STITES | OCTOBER 03, 2014 5:00 AM

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Preparation for the future starts today as the Hawkeyes take on top seeded Michigan and Nebraska in the pool at 6 p.m. This is the opening meet of their regular season, and an opening meet for the redeveloped and excited Hawkeyes.

“It’s a developing situation with our team that has young talent that is emerging everyday, and that is exciting to see,” head coach Marc Long said. “If we get them in the right situation, we’re going to have some neat things happen.”

The Hawkeye swimming and diving team is welcoming 12 new freshmen to the program and they are eager to see the growth within their team after the hard weeks of pre-season training.

“They all have great energy,” Long said. “It is exciting to be developing young talent.”

After a year of development and standout performances, sophomore Emma Sougstad is ready to get the season kicked off and win some races not only for herself, but for the Hawkeyes.

“I love to race,” Sougstad said. “We are going to find out Saturday morning who wants it more.”

Sougstad is the school record holder in the 100-breaststroke (1:00.90) set at the Big Ten Championships last season. But this letter winner is not only has made it big as a Hawkeye, but on a national stage earning a No. 44 world ranking in the 50-meter breaststroke competition.

Being able to compete on this level brings higher goals for both her and for the team as the Wolverines and Huskers enter into the pool.

Michigan placed fifth at the 2014 Big Ten Championships this past season. The Wolverines have never lost a season opener under the coaching of Mike Bottom who is entering his third season at Michigan.

The Huskers come in finishing 9th at the Big Ten Championships, right behind Iowa. These two rivals haven’t competed against each other in over a season that was in Iowa City, Iowa at the Hawkeye Invitational.

Senior Becky Stoughton is coming off multiple injuries throughout her sophomore and junior years and is now ready to compete. According to Long, is hungry to get back in the water as she feels comfortable and in control of her injuries.

As a captain, Stoughton’s positive attitude and composure in the pool will hopefully be the beginnings of another record-breaking season. The senior holds school records in seven events as a Hawkeye despite the injury setbacks. 

Stroughton, also known as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2012 is eager to see what freshmen on this Hawkeye team will bring to the water today in their first Big Ten meet.

“The new freshmen on our team bring a new aspect and challenge to our training,” Stoughton said.

Today marks the beginning of the 2014-15 swimming and diving season. Today marks the start of the rebuilding process. And today marks the start of the Hawkeyes preparation for the future.

“There is a feeling of hunger,” Long said. “I am excited to see who will go in and step up.”

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


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