Cyclones begin regular swimming, diving season Saturday in Minnesota


Photo: Tim Reuter/Iowa State Daily

Freshman Alex Gustafson competes in the 100-yard freestyle during the intrasquad swimming meet Friday. Gustafson competed as part of the Gold team, which defeated the Cardinal team by a score of 131-93.

Nate Ryan

The ISU swimming and diving team begins its regular season Saturday in a dual on the road. The Cyclones travel to Minneapolis and the campus of the University of Minnesota for a meet with the Golden Gophers.

Swimming coach Duane Sorenson explained how a dual meet against a powerhouse like Minnesota is training for tournaments later in the season.  

“Our whole season is geared around the Northwestern Invitational and the Big 12 Championships,” Sorenson said. “All college swim teams make their dual meets part of their training.”

The Cyclones are hurting with senior Jeli Nixt still recovering from a moped accident that occurred before the start of the school year.

“She’s at about 70 to 75 percent. She’s working her way back into it,” Sorenson said.

Sorenson said Dani Harris is also gradually working her way back to 100 percent after having her knee scoped last spring.  

The Cyclones do have some new faces stepping up. Coaches have been pleased with the improvements of freshmen Alex Gustafson and Emily Wiltsie, as well as sophomore transfer Elena Carvell.  

“Those three are really stepping up and doing a nice job,” Sorenson said.

Diving coach Jeff Warrick is looking forward to the opportunity this meet brings. Warrick pointed out the talent of the Minnesota divers and how it compares to what the Cyclones want to achieve.

“It’s great to see and compete against that caliber of diving and being in a great facility,” Warrick said. “It should hopefully bring out the best in us.”

This meet also serves as a homecoming for some members of the team. Seven Cyclones are Minnesota natives, and a lot of them swam in their state high school championships at the same facility they’ll swim at Saturday.  

Sorenson is also from Minnesota and grew up in the Twin Cities, living in the state for 40 years.

“I still know half the state,” Sorenson said. “A lot of their friends and relatives are going to be there so they’re going to want to shine. It’s always fun to go home as they say.”

The Cyclones and Golden Gophers begin their meet at 1 p.m. Saturday at the University Aquatic Center located on the University of Minnesota campus.