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Women’s swimming stumbles

BY SHELBY STITES | JANUARY 26, 2015 5:00 AM

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The back-and-forth battles in past competitions between the Iowa swimming team and Northwestern’s were renewed on Jan. 24 in the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center.

The Hawkeyes were down by 1 point entering the 400-freestyle relay, but the Wildcats touched the wall first by 2.32 seconds, resulting in a 152-142 loss for Iowa.

“It was a tough loss,” associate head coach Frannie Malone said. “But we had a lot of athletes who stepped up and had standout performances.”

This matchup always proves to be intense and nearly always comes down to the final relay.
Iowa snared first place in only eight of the 16 swimming and diving events, led by the senior Becky Stoughton and sophomore Emma Sougstad. The two have continued to set the tone for the group of young Hawkeyes.

Despite the Hawks priding themselves on having a family dynamic, the loss demonstrated a lack of focus and team unity.

“We didn’t come together as a team,” Malone said. “We need everyone to pull all of their weight in order to get to the Big Ten Tournament.”

This loss doesn’t concern Stoughton. As a captain, she reassured her teammates that they all have each others’ backs and to remember this feeling heading into the rest of their season.

“I want them to take this fire that we have right now and channel it and make it positive before we enter Notre Dame,” Stoughton said.

Stoughton earned two first-place finishes, in the 1,000 freestyle and the 500 freestyle. She also competed in the 400-frestyle relay, which earned second place (3.26.80), with freshmen Lauren Leehy, Nikol Lagodzinska, and Meghan Lavelle.

The freshmen from the relay continue to execute head coach Marc Long’s rebuilding and reloading plan established at the beginning of the season. The young talent has impressed the coaches and their teammates.

“It has been great to watch everyone step up and race every day in practice,” Sougstad said. “And to now see them step up against other teams and watch them gut it out has been exciting to watch.”

Lavelle also took second place in the 200 backstroke (2:00.88) and in the 100-yard backstroke (56.07). Leehy finished third in the 100 freestyle at 52.03.

Despite the loss, the Hawkeyes see an opportunity to bounce back when they travel to Notre Dame on Friday.

“This matchup is intense, and it’s fun, and that is what we like,” Malone said. “That is what we want; we want a team coming in and gunning for us. We want to work our best.”

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


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