Swimmer has little sister follow her footsteps to Iowa State


Blake Lanser/Iowa State Daily

Imelda Wistey, senior in English, swims breast stroke and free style during practice Monday, Dec. 2.

Chris Wolff

Three years ago, ISU’s swimming team signed Imelda Wistey, a transfer from Grinnell College.

Imelda had made waves at Grinnell; breaking six school records on her way to collecting a third place and 16 place finish at the NCAA Division III championships and winning the Midwest Conference Swimmer of the Year award.

All of the success came after Imelda had a change of heart. After initially deciding against swimming in college, she chose Grinnell for the schools academics.

Imelda then rethought her decision and decided that swimming was something that she wanted to pursue. After breakout performances in her lone season at Grinnell, Imelda transferred to Iowa State and never looked back.

“I really loved it at Grinnell, but Iowa State provided me with the best opportunities in swimming,” Imelda said. “The coaches here are great, and I knew that it was the best decision for me personally.”

Now Imelda is a senior at Iowa State and has built up an impressive resume. Imelda’s name is all over the ISU record books, as she has recorded top-20 times in five different events, including the school record for the 100-yard breaststroke.

She has also won a Big 12 Swimmer of the Week award and been an All-Big 12 performer.

Just as Imelda finishes her distinguished career, another Wistey is heading to Ames to start her own career at Iowa State next year.

Imelda’s sister Kaitlin Wistey recently signed her letter of intent to swim for Iowa State.

“I am incredibly excited for her,” Imelda said of her sister. “I am excited to see what she’ll do and to live the experience with her. I kind of get to relive everything through her.”

Throughout the process, Imelda tried to stay out of Kaitlin’s college decision. Instead of playing the role of a recruiter, Imelda continued to play the role of a sister.

While trying to remain impartial, Imelda always hoped that Kaitlin would choose Iowa State.

“Obviously I wanted her to go to Iowa State, but I didn’t want to influence her decision,” Imelda said. “I wanted her to make her own decision and be her own person.”

Initially, Kaitlin did not want to go to Iowa State, specifically to avoid following in her older sister’s footsteps. She decided to visit Ames and “fell in love” with everything. The campus, the coaches, the team and the atmosphere were all major factors in her decision.

“You can’t help what you fall in love with,” said Kaitlin of her decision. “Now I’m actually really excited to be following [Imelda] because she can relate to everything.”

Imelda is glad to have a chance to watch her sister and relive the experience all over again. The coaching staff is also excited to sign another Wistey.

ISU coach Duane Sorenson noted that Kaitlin was a “student of the game” and a very coachable athlete. After having plenty of success with Imelda, Sorenson is happy to get a chance to coach her younger sister.

“Imelda has been very consistent for us the last three years and was an athlete that you could always count on to be ready to race,” said ISU coach Duane Sorenson.

“Now Kaitlin is coming in, and she is a fierce competitor just like her sister. I’m really excited for what she’ll be able to do.”

Kaitlin is also excited to get to Ames and start off her career.

“I can’t wait,” Kaitlin said. “I wish I could start right now.”