Swimming and diving seniors push for strong finish

Freshman Evan Hundley dives off the block during the meet against the University of Illinois on Friday night. The Fighting Illini defeated the Cyclones 164.5 to 135.5

John Miller

The Iowa State swimming and diving team (7-3, 2-0 Big 12) is getting prepared for this weekend against Kansas before training for the Big 12 Championships.

The Cyclones are coming off an upset senior night victory on Friday over West Virginia, which came down to the final event — the 400 freestyle relay — to dictate.

While the whole team contributed in that win, the three seniors: Haley Ruegemer, Sydney Ronald and Evan Hundley had a strong performance in their final meet at Beyer Hall.

“So far, our team has met most of our expectations for this season, but West Virginia was a huge success for us and we’re expecting to build off that for Kansas and compete at a high level going into the Big 12s,” Hundley said, who was a member of that 400 freestyle relay team.

Hundley was also the anchor for the winning 200 medley relay team against West Virginia.

While Hundley performed well in the short distance events, it was Ruegemer who provided the spark for the Cyclones when they needed it early.

In only the second race of the dual, Ruegemer trailed West Virginia’s Lauryn Kallay by over two seconds at the 700-yard mark in the 1000 freestyle. However, Ruegemer used her conditioning edge to storm back quickly and in the end, defeat Kallay.

“For me, I want to improve the intensity of my races from the beginning and my stroke technique with that,” Ruegemer said.

That said, Ruegemer will get a chance to prove herself this week against Kansas as the Jayhawks have a stellar 1000 freestyle duo of Crissie Blomquist and Jenny Nusbaum.

This will be key going forward because those two will be Ruegemer’s main competition at the Big 12s as well.

While Ruegemer chases her fourth All-Big 12 selection, it is Ronald who believes consistency is the key for the Cyclones down the stretch.

“There’s always stuff we can improve on but for the most it’s just consistency and performing like we do in practice,” Ronald said.

Ronald, a diver, missed her sophomore and part of her junior season due to two knee surgeries, but that has not slowed her down this season as she has put up new personal records and come up huge for the Cyclones in clutch moments.

In fact, Ronald finished in third on the one-meter platform to keep the score tied at 132 heading into the final two events against the Mountaineers.

“The team has been so supportive with helping me back and even through the hard times, they have stuck by me and I am so happy for the opportunities that this program has given me,” Ronald said.

As the seniors prepare to lead the Cyclones for a tough final dual meet against the rival Jayhawks, they know that their time is coming to an end.

But the journey is far from over. 

“I want to leave on a good note and place high at the Big 12s, but mostly I just want to take this time to make as many memories as I can with my teammates over these last few meets,” Hundley said.