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Hawk swimmers 'scrappy'

BY SHELBY STITES | DECEMBER 17, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Iowa women’s swimming team is built from a variety of swimmers. Some are just entering the pool. Some are taking their final lap. And some are recognized on a world scale.

Sophomore Emma Sougstad earned a No. 44 ranking at the 2014 Summer Nationals. This recognition has led her to school records and NCAA qualification times throughout the season.

Sougstad has been a part of the 200-freestyle relay throughout her whole college career thus far, and during the finals at the Hawkeye Invitational on Dec. 5, she swam to a school record of 1:31.3 with her teammates.

“I feel like everyone just came together as a team, and we preformed so well,” Sougstad said. “We just fed off of each other, and it showed in the water.”

The quartet of junior Olivia Kabacinski, freshmen Meghan Lavelle and Mckenna Scheitlin, and Sougstad beat the previous mark, set in 2012, by .38 of a second.

Lavelle proved herself in the Hawkeye Invitational by competing in the 50 freestyle, 200 backstroke, and 200 intermediate medley. Her two disqualifications were learning opportunities.
Scheitlin joined Lavelle in the 50 freestyle, finishing 12th overall.

Sougstad has seen the potential from this group of swimmers since the season-opener in October.

“It is really exciting because we all just came together and raced,” Sougstad said, complimenting her 200-freestyle relay team after the Hawkeyes’ opening double dual on Oct 3. “I think it has a really good shot at making NCAAs.”

Two months later, the band of swimmers has reached some of its goals as the Hawks continue to prepare for the opportunity to compete at NCAAs by qualifying for the B cut in the remaining months of the season.

“I know they have more in the tank for the end of the season,” Long said. “I think their times will keep getting faster and faster as the season goes on.”

Long still sees some things that need to be worked out among this group of swimmers. These improvements can only lead to faster times.

“We are going to prepare by training hard and swimming fast,” Kabacinski said after her record-breaking Day Two of the Hawkeye Invitational. “Our goal was to make it to the postseason, and now, we have to prepare for that.”

The swimmers are 1.13 seconds behind the B qualifying time, which would enable them the opportunity to swim for a chance to compete at Greensboro, North Carolina, for the NCAA championships.

But with three months until March, the Hawkeyes have a lot to prove before the postseason approaches.

“We are a scrappy team, and we are here to win,” Sougstad said.

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


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