Nixt’s recovery continues as swimmers seek success

Nate Ryan

Before the season started, senior swimmer Jeli Nixt sustained an ankle injury in a moped accident. About a month ago, Nixt learned that she now has a stress fracture in that ankle that has now limited her time in the pool.

“It’s a day-by-day situation,” said coach Duane Sorenson. “This week has probably been her best week of practice.”

Nixt was held out of the Nov. 10 meet against Northern Iowa. Although her competitive side wants to be in the pool, Nixt knew what had to be done.  

“I understand that having to rest my leg and looking ahead to bigger meets is more important,” Nixt said.

Swimmer-coach relationship brings success

Cyclone swimmer Dani Harris and assistant head coach Kelly Nordell have a relationship most athletes and their coaches don’t have.

“It’s one of the reasons I actually ended up coming here,” Harris said.

Nordell has helped Harris throughout her career even before both came to Iowa State. Harris said it’s a bonus to have Nordell here and an advantage to have the relationship they have.

Harris said Nordell is able to get in her face and correct her when she’s pushing too hard. She also knows Harris’ character, which helps her realize when Harris is struggling with something “outside of the pool,” Harris said.

“She’s like a second mom essentially,” Harris said.  “I’m just really blessed to have her here.”

Swimming facility brings right atmosphere

The pool in Beyer Hall might not be able to compare to top facilities around the country, but the Cyclones are still glad to call it home with the dual meet atmosphere it brings.

“Beyer Hall is one of the best places in the nation to have a dual meet,” Sorenson said.  

In the Big 12, Texas, Texas A&M and Missouri have the elite swimming facilities.  

“We think they are the three best in the country,” Sorenson said.

Texas’ pool is considered one of the fastest in the world.

The atmosphere brings more to swimming than the pool itself. Beyer pool may not have the “wow factor,” Sorenson said, but it doesn’t need to.  

“We tell our women we swim in a 25-yard pool,” Sorenson said.  “Water is water.”

Divers gain confidence by qualifying

Diving coach Jeff Warrick has never had four divers qualify for the NCAA Zone meet within the first two meets of the season, until this year.  

Divers Lauren Naeve, Abby Christensen and Sarah Nelson have all qualified in the 1-meter. Jenn Botsch has qualified in the 3-meter.

“They know that it’s another they’ve had to earn,” Warrick said. “It’s not handed them.”

To reach qualifying standards so early tells Warrick and the divers themselves that they are competing at a high level early. Not every diver qualifies for the Zone meet, and Warrick thinks his divers realize that.  

“I think that gives them confidence for the rest of the year,” Warrick said.  “Confidence is the key.”