Takeaways: Swim and dive looking ahead after a rocky season


Katlyn Campbell/Iowa State Daily

Members of the Iowa State swimming and diving team compete in a relay race during the Cardinal and Gold swim meet Oct. 12, 2018, at Beyer Hall.

Megan Teske

Iowa State’s swimming and diving season ended just in time before every spring sport had to cancel the rest of their seasons due to COVID-19.

The only thing that was left for swimming and diving was the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, and luckily or not (depending on how you look at it), the Cyclones didn’t have an athlete qualify. 

The Cyclones finished their season 5-5 with a fourth place finish at the Big 12 Championships after placing fifth last year. 

Close meets

In a sport where a half a second can be the deciding factor between a win and a loss, it all comes down to the details. 

Iowa State had an up and down season, with wins and losses coming in the form of close races.

Though the score may not have always showed it, the meets came down to the very last event most of the time.

In order for the Cyclones to end their season above .500 next season and meets not end in such close defeat, they will have to work on tightening up those details, which comes in the form of turns through the wall and kicking harder, as Head Coach Duane Sorenson liked to say. 

Diving domination

One thing that stayed consistent throughout the season was the divers’ ability to produce each meet. 

The addition of freshman Jayna Misra and sophomore transfer Michelle Schlossmacher Smith to Head Diving Coach Jeff Warrick’s diving team improved the diving group after losing senior Sydney Ronald last year.

Together, Schlossmacher Smith, Misra and redshirt senior Dana Liva regularly landed themselves in the top three in the 1 meter, 3 meter and platform dives that gave Iowa State the edge over some teams in dual meets.

The three of them also grabbed multiple zone cuts throughout the season that sent them to the NCAA Zone Diving Championships, where their season ultimately ended in Dallas.

Looking ahead

Iowa State swimming and diving will see nine seniors graduate this year, but the rest of the team will still have plenty to offer once next season rolls around.

Junior Lehr Thorson had an impressive year, earning an NCAA B cut and also grabbing a spot on the Iowa State record boards for her 100- and 200-yard breaststroke times while setting personal records along the way. 

The 200 medley relay team consisting of sophomore Emily Haan, junior Martha Haas, junior Wyli Erlechman and senior Anna Andersen was a successful team this year. Sorenson will have to find someone to replace anchor Andersen for next season, but this relay team should again be on track to take the event in plenty of duals next season like they did this year.

Sophomore Lucia Rizzo and freshmen Sophia Goushchina and Elizabeth Richardson will also be on track to have another exciting year after doing well this season. 

Rizzo placed sixth overall in the 200 butterfly at the Big 12 Championships capping off a solid year while Goushchina holds a firm spot on two relay teams as well as seventh place in Iowa State history for her time in the 100-yard backstroke. Richardson ended her freshman season with the No. 1 spot on the freshman record list and No. 6 Iowa State all-time list in the 200-yard backstroke. 

The divers will return two of their top performers in Schlossmacher Smith and Misra after they both had solid seasons. Sophomore Jessica Coffin was also improving toward the end of the season, so that will be something to look to improve upon as well. 

Finally, Sorenson is bringing in four swimmers and one diver from the signing class to bolster the swimming and diving team.