Cyclone swimming recruits hard


Photo: Tim Reuter/Iowa State Daily

The ISU swimming and diving team take off the starting blocks to take part in the women’s 100-yard freestyle competition on Saturday, Oct. 30. Iowa State beat South Dakota State with a score of 152-83, as well as Western Illinois with a score of 161-48.

Dean Bernhow-Goll

The Cy-Hawk series continues this Friday with the ISU swimming and diving team heading to Iowa City, but Iowa State has something else to be excited for — recruiting.

“We really wanted to hit the recruiting scene hard this year,” said coach Duane Sorenson. “We’ve got 11 seniors graduating, and have a lot of people to replace.”

The top recruit coming in is Amanda Paulson from Monticello High School in Minnesota. Paulson is the current 50-meter freestyle record holder, and also took the top spot in the 100-meter freestyle at last season’s Minnesota State Championships.

“She may have been a small-school champion,” Sorenson said, “but her time would beat the big-school champion time. She is one of the top-five swimmers in the country at the 50 free, so we’re very excited for her.”

The Cyclones also added three-time state champion Kristy Kunkel. Kunkel won state in the 200 and 500 freestyle, and can help Iowa State in freestyle areas as well as in the individual medley.

“She’s a three-time state champion in Nebraska, and she will contribute a lot,” Sorenson said. “It’s a very strong class depth-wise, and it should help us fill our needs.”

Some other swimming recruits Iowa State landed that Sorenson didn’t mention are Sarah Deis, Elizabeth Kleiner, Britta Sortland and Breanna Loeschke.

Deis is a Minnesota native, who competes well in all freestyles, and is also a strong breaststroke swimmer. She specifically excels in the 100 and 200 breaststroke.

Kleiner is also a freestyler. As of right now, the coaching staff hasn’t decided to push her in the direction of long or short distances, but believes she will be successful with either.

Sortland is a strong 50 freestyle swimmer from Woodbury, Minn. Last year she finished third in the 50 free at the Minnesota State Championships, and also is the champion at the club level for the 50 free.

Loeshke is the last swimmer from Minnesota, coming from Irondale High School. She is a strong 100 backstroker, and holds her school records in that race also.

The Cyclones have hit the recruiting spot hard and early, which is exactly what Sorenson says they need to do losing all 11 of those seniors after this season. This strong recruiting class should help build a solid foundation for next year’s team.

“It’s a very strong class depth-wise,” Sorenson said, “and it should help us fill our needs going into next year.”

Cy-Hawk takes to the pool

At his press conference Monday, Sorenson tried to silence any doubters by saying that the swimming meet between the Hawkeyes and Cyclones is actually more intense than football or basketball.

“We know that this meet is going to be important,” Sorenson said,” not just for our team, but for the entire Cyclone nation.”

The meets between the two schools have been extremely close as of late, and the home team has won the meet the past four years. Last year in Ames, the Cyclones came away with the 167-133 victory, while the Hawkeyes lead the all-time series 21-14.

Sorenson specifically stated that his senior swimmers are excited to face the Hawkeyes again.

“The seniors have won twice against the Hawkeyes and lost once, so they want to walk out of here 3-1,” Sorenson said. “Our girls will be fired up, and so will the Hawkeyes.”

Dani Harris nearly healthy

So far this year, the Cyclones have been led by Dani Harris. Harris has struggled to stay healthy, but things are looking up as of late.

“Dani Harris has really been coming around,” Sorenson said. “She’s been sick off and on all fall, and she’s been healthy the last three weeks. She’s looked outstanding lately, and we hope she stays that way.”

Harris, a Clive native, has 14 combined victories this year, 10 of them being individual and four being relays.

Emily Wiltsie, a strong freshman from Mason City, has performed tremendously as a newcomer, and has come on strong as of late.

“Emily has been swimming lifetime bests,” Sorenson said. “It seems like every time she gets in the water she looks very strong.”