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Big role looms for Sougstad

BY ROD ENGBLOM | MARCH 11, 2015 5:00 AM

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With the season at its end for the Hawkeye women’s swimming team, Becky Stoughton and Emma Sougstad are the only two swimmers to represent Iowa in this year’s NCAA meet in Greensboro, North Carolina.

With Stoughton graduating after this season, the question is, will Sougstad be able to fill her shoes as a leader of the team and contribute even more to the team score?

Just a sophomore, Sougstad has recently come into her own when it comes to adjusting to balancing the workload of a college student and the time a Big Ten sport takes up.

“This year, I have learned how to learn,” Sousgstad said. “That was pretty hard to get down, but I definitely appreciated everyone who has helped me on the way.”

She had a hard time adjusting because swimming was always on her mind last year, and it eclipsed other aspects of her college experience. 

Sougstad looked up to both captains of this year’s team — Stoughton and junior Colleen Chamba — for anything from advice on how to balance school and the swimming team to having someone to decompress with after a tough exam.

“I really look to them for their leadership examples,” Sougstad said. “I definitely go to them whenever I need help or whenever I’m struggling with something, like I just had a big test and Colleen and I had ice cream after.”

Stoughton believes that Chamba was a huge part of why the team was very positive this season, especially in preparing the team before a meet. 

“Colleen did a really good job with the pep talks this year,” Stoughton said. “She would always have something to say to make the girls smile.” 

Stoughton thought that the whole team was very positive throughout the season and that the seniors kept everyone in high spirits even when the demanding schedule took a toll on the team during the middle of the season. 

Head coach Marc Long believes that the team is growing and that Sougstad has a bright future. 

“I think Emma certainly has matured to the point where she’s a great athlete,” he said. “Seeing her believe in herself, with help from Becky and the rest of the upper classmen, has really helped her and you really see that belief coming through.”

With experience under her belt and help from fellow teammates, Sougstad has matured into a potential leader of the team in the future. 

Long is confident that Sougstad has a bright future and will only continue to grow in the future. 

“I think she has greater things even than what’s happening here at NCAAs coming up for her in the next two years,” Long said.

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


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