Swimmers, divers braced for ‘bittersweet’ senior day

Dan Cole

The ISU swimming and diving team faces Kansas at Beyer Pool this weekend in its last competition of the regular season.

Saturday is Senior Day for the Cyclones (4-3) and is sure to be full of added emotion and intensity.

“I think at the end of the day there might be a lot of tears,” said senior diver Jenn Botsch. “It’s weird to think that it will be the last time to compete at home.”

The Cyclones’ roster currently consists of 5 seniors, each of whom will be breaking the surface of Beyer Pool for the last time Saturday morning. “Bittersweet” has been a popular phrase at practice this week.

“There are a lot of mixed emotions for us,” said senior diver and team captain Sarah Nelson. “It’s kind of bittersweet as we come to the end of our careers as college athletes.”

The emotions of this week have weighed heavily on the coaching staff, as well.

“It’s always an emotional day,” said assistant coach Kelly Nordell. “We reflect on all the things that they’ve done since they’ve been here. Having watched them grow as people is a huge part of it.”

The Cyclones have not defeated the Jayhawks (5-4) since the 2002-03 season. Coach Duane Sorenson realizes that the Cyclones need to harness their emotions in end this streak this weekend.

“It’s a two-way sword,” Sorenson said. “Sometimes we’ve seen kids have a real hard time on Saturday. Other times they’ve really gotten into it. We’re just going to ask our kids to stand up and race and the rest of the team to really step up their competition level to send the seniors off on a strong note.”

The Cyclones hope the pageantry of senior day will serve as an advantage, as well.

“It helps to have a lot of fans in the stands,” Nelson said. “It gives you a lot of energy, you can feel that in Beyer, and helps you rise up to the occasion and really compete.”

The two-day meet begins at 6 p.m. on Friday and continues at 10 a.m. on Saturday.