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Iowa ready for Senior Night

BY SHELBY STITES | DECEMBER 05, 2014 5:00 AM

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The halfway point of the season is approaching for the Hawkeye swimmers as they enter the pool this weekend in the Hawkeye Invitational, but this halfway point also makes it closer to the end of memorable careers for the Iowa seniors.

This three-day invitational will welcome the schools of Denver, Washington State, Milwaukee, Iowa State, Nebraska, Northern Iowa, and Ohio State while the Hawkeyes will say goodbye to their seniors at Senior Day on Saturday.

Nine seniors are going to leave the Hawkeye lineup after this season.

“I cannot begin to express all of the lessons that I have learned from the seniors this year,” sophomore Emma Sougstad said. “They have been wonderful leaders in and outside of the pool.”

Among the swimmers who will be recognized are three redshirt seniors who are part of the Hawkeye diving team; they have been able to post NCAA Zone Diving standards on the 1- and 3-meter dives this year. These scores will give Lauren Kelba and Joelle Christy an opportunity to qualify for NCAA Zone Diving. 

The intensity of training this past month has prepared the Hawkeyes to compete this weekend.

“It’s a halfway meet for the season, which will set us up for our placement in future heats at Big Tens,” senior captain Becky Stoughton said.

Only Denver, Washington State, and Milwaukee will compete in both swimming and diving portions of the competition; Iowa State, Nebraska, Northern Iowa, and Ohio State will solely contend in the diving portion.

The Hawkeyes were able to compete and beat Nebraska earlier this fall; the matchup against Iowa State will be a preview, because the Cyclones will return to Iowa City next week to race in the Cy-Hawk series. 

This will be the Hawkeyes’ first time going up against Ohio State this season, and it will help define both teams.

“No matter what our team looks like on paper, we will give it our best effort until the final teammate touches the wall,” Sougstad said. “This is especially important for this long weekend at the Hawkeye Invitational.”

The potential that was seen at the beginning of the season still excites the swimmers.

“This [halfway point] doesn’t change our preparation,” head coach Marc Long said. “The team has a feeling of hunger and is ready to step up.”

The Hawks hope the preparation will mean breakthrough swims.

“I know we have made steps toward our breakthrough swims, but I know there is so much more left in the tank,” Sougstad said. “There are no expectations, just race the person next to you.”

 Rebuilding and reloading has been present in all aspects of the Hawkeyes season thus far.

“We thrive in the underdog position,” Sougstad said. “We don’t let the challenge knock us down, but rather, we rise up to the competition and fight to get our hand on the wall before the opposing team.”

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


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