Takeaways: Cyclones place fourth at Big 12 Championships


Then-sophomore Lehr Thorson swims the 200-yard breaststroke Jan. 18, 2019, at Beyer Pool. The Iowa State women’s swimming and diving team won against Illinois State University 191–100. 

Megan Teske

The Iowa State swim and dive team left West Virginia with a fourth-place finish at the Big 12 Championships.

After starting tied for fourth and falling to fifth on the second day, the Cyclones were able to fight back by day four to place fourth with 459 points.

The University of Texas claimed their spot at the top on the first day and finished in first with 1,012 points, while Kansas remained in second throughout the competition and ended with 831 points. TCU rounded out the top three with 534 points, and West Virginia finished last with 448 points.

Day four fight

After starting the competition out at the bottom and remaining in fifth through day two and three, the Cyclones had to come out strong on day four to finish out of last place.

The Cyclones did just that. Out of the seven events that took place on the final day, nine of the women medaled in their respective events.

“[I’m] very proud of how our women fought back today,” Head Coach Duane Sorenson said in a press release. “We had almost a perfect prelims session and put ourselves in great position to catch West Virginia. It was nip and tuck and had a lot of touch-outs against them at the end of the meet to secure our fourth place.”

In the women’s platform diving, senior Dana Liva placed fourth overall with 266.25 points, adding 15 points to the team score. 

Freshman Nolwenn Nunes and senior Keely Soellner placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 1,650 yard freestyle to give the Cyclones 29 more points.

The 200-yard breaststroke was the highlight of the day for the Cyclones, when juniors Lehr Thorson and Martha Haas placed third and eighth to grab 27 points for the team.

Thorson’s third-place finish at 2:14.41 is now the fourth fastest time in Iowa State history.

Texas takeover

For the eighth year in a row, the Texas women won the Big 12 Championships, this time with relative ease. 

Texas and Iowa State don’t get the chance to compete in a dual during the season, so this was the first time each team saw each other this season. 

Through the women’s 21 events, Texas won 18 of the events and placed in the top three in 20 of them.

Their first place finishes accounted for 460 of their 1,012 total points. 

Personal bests set

Multiple Cyclones were able to improve their personal best times over the course of the four-day competition.

On the first day, junior Kennedy Tranel recorded a new personal best in the 100-yard freestyle time trials with a time of 52.09. During day two, 11 Cyclones set new personal bests, eight of them set during the preliminary events. 

“We had a real solid day [two]; we had a number of personal bests turned in,” Sorenson said in the release. 

Day three saw more personal bests recorded. 

Thorson achieved a personal best time in the 100-yard breaststroke finals with a time of 1:01.02, which is just 0.56 seconds later than the school record. Haas also set a personal record in the event, landing in sixth with a time of 1:02.06.

In the 100-yard backstroke, junior Wyli Erlechman earned herself a personal record in the preliminary rounds with a time of 55.75.

In total, seven Cyclones set personal bests on day three.

On the last day of competition, junior Bryn Ericksen and redshirt freshman Jennifer Roessler grabbed personal bests in the 200-yard breaststroke consolation finals. Ericksen had a time of 2:18.45 and Roessler had 2:19.28.

Freshman Liz Richardson also had a personal best in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:59.38. The time earned her a No. 1 spot on the freshman record list in the event.

Five swimmers set personal bests during the preliminary rounds of the day.

The Iowa State swim and dive team will next see a number of divers compete in the NCAA Zone Diving Championships on March 9 through 11 in Dallas. A number of swimmers and divers will compete in the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships on March 18 through 21 in Athens, Georgia.