Senior day, atmosphere highlights weekend


Photo: David Derong/Iowa State D

Emily Wiltsie, freshman on the Cyclone swim team, competes against Kristin Strecker, freshman on the Nebraska swim team, during the 200-yard breaststroke event Saturday Jan. 29 at Beyer Hall. Wiltsie pulled ahead and beat Strecker by 1.43 seconds.

Nate Ryan

The ISU swimming and diving squad fell to Nebraska on Saturday 174-126, in front of an electric senior day crowd.  

“It’s such a neat, nice group of young ladies,” said coach Duane Sorenson. “They may not be the most talented senior class we’ve ever had, but they’re the most determined senior class.”

Nebraska coach Pablo Morales said it was exciting to bring his team to Ames in front of the atypically boisterous swimming crowd. 

“It was a wonderful atmosphere and a great tribute to their seniors,” Morales said. “We’re sad to see them go, but we’re glad as well because we don’t have to face them anymore.”

The crowd really came alive at Saturday’s meet and helped the athletes and coaches stay excited.

“It was fantastic,” Sorenson said. “It was a fun crowd to be in front of.”

Senior Jeli Nixt stood out in her last home meet. Nixt helped the 200-yard medley relay team to a second-place finish.

Nixt also took first as a part of an event sweep by the Cyclones in the 100-yard breaststroke with the large crowd erupting in cheers. At the time, the sweep brought the Cyclones within one point of Nebraska.

“When I finished and I looked up at the board and saw we went one, two, three,” Nixt said, “I don’t know how to explain it — it was a cool feeling.”

Having all of her friends and family there for her final home meet and with the atmosphere of Beyer Hall, Nixt realized her expectations weren’t great enough for the weekend.

“It was better than what I thought it was going to be,” Nixt said. “It was really cool.”

Emily Wiltsie has looked up to the seniors in her freshman season and received valuable advice.

“They’ve been really helpful and welcome you with open arms,” Wiltsie said. “They like to not just lead us, but to be our friends too.”

This senior class has had their effects on their coaching staff.

“They’ve always been on time, worked hard and always do what we ask them to do,” Sorenson said. “It’s been a great four years, and it’s amazing how fast it’s gone by.”

The diving team consists of seniors Abby Christensen and Justine Anders, and coach Jeff Warrick said both had a solid meet. 

Anders recorded a personal best on both 1-meter and 3-meter by almost 20 points. 

“She just did an outstanding job, and I’m real happy for her,” Warrick said. “They’ve just been a lot of fun to work with.”

The Cyclones next travel to Lawrence, Kan. to take on the Jayhawks. The meet takes place at 6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday.