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Hawkeyes set to swim against Northwestern

BY SHELBY STITES | JANUARY 23, 2015 5:00 AM

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The Wildcats of Northwestern find themselves entering the static waters of the Iowa Hawkeyes this Saturday. The Wildcats will be entering Iowa City and competing in a dual meet against two ranked Iowa teams.

“Coming off of hard winter training will be the toughest part, but I think the girls did a great job overcoming that at Illinois already which will prepare us for Northwestern,” senior captain Becky Stoughton said.

Last year the Hawkeyes women’s swimming and diving team visited Evanston, Illinois and barley pulled out a win at the meet with an overall score of 155-145. One week later, the Wildcats found their revenge with a 186-184 victory over the Hawkeyes at Notre Dame’s Shamrock Invite.  

So expectations are set as this swimming showdown enters Iowa’s pool with the intentions of yet another close score.

This season, the Wildcats have remained average in the water and have only competed against three other Big Ten schools prior to this upcoming matchup against the Hawkeyes where they lost to both Michigan and Wisconsin and ended up with a win over the Fighting Illini.

After the Hawkeyes returned from their victory over Illinois, they found themselves 4-2 in dual meets which has led them to a 21st ranking according to the College Swimming Coaches Association of America.

This is what this Hawkeye program has been longing for in their rebuilding process and what head coach Marc Long has predicted since his team’s first swim in the pool.

“The team has a feeling of hunger and is ready to step up,” Long said on media day at the beginning of the season. “They are excited for the opportunity as a team to compete and they are excited to be Hawkeyes.”

Throughout the beginning half of this season, Hawkeye swimmers have continued to prove themselves in the water by placing NCAA qualification times and breaking school and pool records.

Stoughton is among the top Hawkeye swimmers that continuously shows her teammates the pride she takes in wearing the Black and Gold by keeping her composure and and finding her name in the record books.

“[Breaking records] brings my confidence back as a swimmer,” Stoughton said. “It’s been a while since I’ve set an individual record, so seeing that for me indicates I’m on the right track.”

And her records have allowed upcoming Iowa swimmers to enter the water with that same goal. Although Stoughton is unsure about their place in the lineup this weekend, she finds their presence in the pool electric as they train and compete.

“They create a great atmosphere at practice,” Stoughton said. “It is always exciting having people come in that are energized and ready to train hard.”

Their energy ultimately prepares the veteran Hawkeyes to set their goals high as they continue to work towards qualifying for NCAA ‘A’ cut times.

“We just have to keep working hard to get those A cuts,” sophomore Emma Sougstad said. “We have to remember to keep a blank mind and just race.”

The Hawkeyes continue to prepare to beat the swimmer next to them as the competition between Northwestern and the Hawkeyes begins at 11 a.m. at the Campus Recreation Center.

“No expectations in particular,” Stoughton said. “I am just going to swim as fast as I can for my girls and see what happens.”

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


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