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Women's swimming on shattering pace

BY SHELBY STITES | DECEMBER 16, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Iowa women's swimming and diving team has shocked not only Iowa fans but outside observers with the amount of success that has come out of the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center’s pool over the course of the past two competitions.

Two standout swimmers have driven the success of the young Hawkeye team, and they continue to break records: senior Becky Stoughton and world-ranked swimmer and sophomore Emma Sougstad.

Their talent has caused them to be leaders outside the pool and has guided the victories over the past week of competition.

“The intense training has me prepared more than I can even imagine,” Sougstad said. “I just keep a blank mind and go out and race.”

The powerful duo haven’t doubted the Hawkeyes’ talent in the water; instead, they praise the young talent and see the swimmers’ potential.

“They just stood up and raced,” Sougstad said after the Hawkeyes’ first win against a Big Ten opponent this season. “They concentrated on beating the person next to them, and it paid off.”

Stoughton leads the Hawkeyes as captain of the team. She owns top school times in the 500 free (4:47.40), 1,000 free (9:49.51), 1,650 free (16:21.97), 200 butterfly (1:59.48), 400 individual medley (4:18.32), and as a member of the 800-free relay (7:17.78).

Her past injuries have made her stronger and a positive figure on the sidelines by not creating any expectations for herself before she dives into the water.

“I never take any race for granted,” Stoughton said. “Each race is a learning experience, so it is important to push yourself as hard as you can so that you can actually learn something from it.”

Sougstad continues to prove why she is world ranked by her focus and drive. She posted a pair of NCAA B cut times when the Hawkeyes traveled to Minnesota and hasn’t stopped since. She has been Big Ten Swimmer of the Week before the beginning of her record-breaking season.

Sougstad has been dominant in her relays alongside Hawkeye sprinting leader junior Olivia Kabacinski.

“We just feed off of each other while on deck,” Kabacinski said. “A lot of people are getting best times, and that motivates us.”

Despite Sougstad and Stoughton swimming different races and having contrasting mindsets, their competitive nature and desire to win brings out the best in each other and in their teammates.

But these Hawkeyes don’t base their records on individual success but on team unity.

“No matter what our team looks like on paper, we will give it our all until the final teammate touches the wall,” Sougstad said. “We have a dedication and a commitment to the sport, but more importantly to each other.”


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