Rivalry, senior day makes for emotional weekend

Nate Ryan

The ISU swimming and diving team is back in action Saturday as it hosts Big 12 rival Nebraska.

The Cyclones (5-3, 0-1 Big 12) host the Cornhuskers (4-3, 0-1) in their final home meet of the season, and a competitive meet can be expected.

“Whenever we swim Nebraska it’s a very close meet,” said coach Duane Sorenson. “We know they’re going to be coming with their best, and we want to be ready with our best too.”

Having the meet in Ames comes as a “huge advantage,” Sorenson said. The athletes get to sleep in their own beds, and they come to the pool knowing their surroundings.

“You know the blocks, you know the walls, you know the surroundings and you’re very comfortable,” Sorenson said. “Plus, we’re hoping to have a big crowd supporting us.”

Diving coach Jeff Warrick has the same expectations with Nebraska coming to town. He said when these two meet it is normal for both to “rise to the occasion.”

“I think it’s going to be a battle,” Warrick said. “Whoever is a little sharper and doesn’t make mistakes is going to win.”

Saturday also brings senior day for the Cyclones. Senior Jeli Nixt reflected on growing with her fellow seniors and getting to know underclassmen. 

“It means a lot,” Nixt said. “It’s going to be a really emotional day.”

The coaching staff knows what the final meet means to these seniors.

“There’s going to be a lot of emotion involved in this meet,” Sorenson said. “It’s the last time they’re racing as an Iowa State Cyclone at Beyer Hall.”

ISU coach Kelly Nordell spent 14 years as a coach at Nebraska. She knows the Cornhuskers will push Iowa State to the limit.

“I respect Nebraska as competitors and Pablo [Morales] and Doug [Humphrey] do a great job,” Nordell said. “It means a lot to me because if we win that meet it means we’re going to be swimming well and diving well.”

Nordell said that with her loyalty now lying with Iowa State the rivalry still brings competitiveness.

“It’s always good to beat Nebraska no matter what sport it is,” Nordell said.

There are higher expectations for this weekend because of the equal competitive level the Cyclones have with Nebraska. 

“It’s going to be going back and forth,” Sorenson said.

The meet begins at 1 p.m. at Beyer Hall. Doors open at noon and admission is free. The first 50 ISU students will receive a free “Proud to Be One” T-shirt.