Takeaways: Cyclones sets two school records at Big 12 Championships, take fifth overall

Freshman Lucia Rizzo swims the 200-yard butterfly against Illinois State University. The Iowa State women’s swimming and diving team swam Jan. 18 in Beyer Pool. Iowa State won the meet 191-100.

John Miller

The Iowa State Cyclones (7-4, 2-1 Big 12) finished with 512.5 points at the Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championships, earning fifth place.

Coming off a fourth-place finish last year, this performance may seem like a small letdown for the Cyclones, but there were some bright spots in this year’s performance.

Youth shines

Coming into the Championships, one of the main concerns was how the youth of the team would respond to the national stage.

Luckily for the Cyclones, the underclass athletes performed well, proving themselves heading into the future.

Sophomore Lehr Thorson was the only Cyclone to earn first-team honors, as she clocked in at 2:15.80 in the 200 breaststroke ‘A’ finals, good enough for fourth place. Slightly behind her was another sophomore, Martha Haas, who finished in sixth place (2:17.63).  

If it were not for another swimmer disqualifying in preliminary stage, Thorson would not have even got the chance to earn those first-team honors. She took advantage of the opportunity as she shaved over four seconds off her preliminary time.

Thorson finished eighth in the 100 breaststroke as well (1:02.45), earning second-team All-Big 12 honors in that event.

Bryn Ericksen showed off her breaststroke skills as well as she won the consolation finals of the 200 (2:20.10). 

Other sophomores to earn places at the meet were Wyli Erlechman (11th) and Grace Snyder (12th) in the 100 butterfly, with times of 55.97 and 57.83, respectively. 

Representing the freshman class well was Elynn Tan, who finished fifth in the 50 freestyle (23.12) and sixth in the 100 butterfly (54.18), earning second-team All-Big 12 honors in both events.

Other freshman that stood out in individual events were Lucia Rizzo and Emily Haan, as they both won consolation finals of their own in the 200 butterfly (2:02.34) and the 100 backstroke (55.01), respectively.

Rizzo just missed another consolation victory in the 400 individual medley as well, coming in 10th at 4:23.30.

Divers showcase their abilities

Junior diver Dana Liva competed well in the platform diving event at the Big 12 Championships, finishing sixth with a score of 211.95.

She also finished 12th in the one-meter (250.45) and 15th in the three-meter (237.50).

Sydney Ronald, a senior, also showed her talents as she finished 10th in the three-meter (288.90) and 13th in the platform (177.95).  

Although they did not set any personal records, this was a step in the right direction for both divers as they will both be competing at the NCAA Zone Diving Championships starting on March 11.

Ronald will be competing on both springboards (one-meter and three-meter) while Liva will be diving on all three disciplines.

Last meet for two Cyclones

With no swimmers qualifying for the NCAA Swimming Championships, this was the last collegiate meet for two graduating Cyclones.

Evan Hundley, sprints, and Haley Ruegemer, distance, will be leaving behind great legacies on the Iowa State program as they pursue their futures.

Ruegemer, who earned All-Big 12 First-Team honors in the 400 individual medley as a junior last year, added her third 1650 freestyle (mile) second-team honors on Sunday, earning fifth place. She also finished fifth in the 400 individual medley, giving her second-team honors in that event as well.

Hundley, on the other hand, contributed to the team this year significantly in relays.

Her lasting accomplishments as a Cyclone was being a part of the stellar 200 medley (1:39.83) and 400 freestyle (3:21.21) relay squads that both broke the school record at this year’s Big 12 meet.  

Hundley was the anchor for all three relays she competed in.

In the 200 freestyle relay, she swam a 22.69 split, which would be good enough for third on Iowa State’s all-time performers if she would have swum that individually.