Iowa State ready to snap Cy-Hawk drought

The Iowa State swim and dive team cheered on their teammates during the meet against the University of Nebraska on Oct. 30, 2021.

Anthony Hanson

It’s rivalry week in the state of Iowa, and Beyer Pool will play host to another rendition of the CyHawk Series.

Iowa State swimming and diving will face the Iowa Hawkeyes in a head-to-head home dual at 6 p.m. Friday.

“We get excited to swim against Iowa but we’re going to handle it just like any other meet,” Iowa State senior Lehr Thorson said. “Obviously, it’s more intense and more anticipated than some of our other meets, but we will take care of business.”

Thorson is in her fifth year with the Iowa State program and has never gotten the better of the Hawkeyes. In fact, Cyclone fans have not been treated to a victory in the series since 2009, as the Hawkeyes have won 10 straight contests.

The Iowa win streak, however, is in jeopardy after the team has faced more adversity in the past year-and-a-half than likely any team in the nation. The team has yet to gain a win in the 2021 season, but it goes beyond the pool.

In August 2020, the Iowa Athletic Department announced four sports (men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis and men’s gymnastics) would be cut after the 2021 season. 

After a group of female swimmers filed a lawsuit claiming the termination of the women’s program would violate Title IX regulations, the Iowa Athletic Department reinstated the program in February 2021. In April, Marc Long, the long-time head coach of the men’s and women’s teams, stepped down. The Hawkeyes are now led by first-year head coach Nathan Mundt. 

Through the adversity, many athletes took to the transfer portal.

Coach Mundt now leads a depleted roster of just eight swimmers and four divers. 

“It’s always a big rivalry meet no matter who is where with either team,” Iowa State Head Coach Duane Sorenson said. “Our women and their women are going to step up and swim.”

Iowa began the season with a loss to UNI (the program’s first against the Panthers) and continued October with losses to Nebraska and Minnesota. Iowa last swam at the Miami Invitational and last dove at the Georgia Tech Diving Invitational. 

Both teams will need to dust off the caps and goggles as it has been three weeks since either school has performed. Iowa’s last outing was Nov. 20 and Iowa State’s on Nov. 21.

Iowa State comes off a second-place performance at the Kansas Classic, in which Iowa State set personal bests and made appearances on the all-time lists.

According to Sorenson, camaraderie and focus were the driving factors behind the fast times and high scores in Topeka. But, the team remains focused on long-term goals.

“I told the team, it’s like withdrawing money out of the bank,” Sorenson said. “We only took out $10 out of a couple of thousand we have in the bank. Big 12’s we’re going to drain the bank.”

Sorenson and his squad will withdraw a little more cash against the Hawkeyes Friday evening, he said, as the Cyclones try to improve to 5-1 in head-to-heads.

With the win, Iowa State will start 2022 with the best record in 12 seasons. In 2009-10, the Cyclones were 7-1 to begin the new year. 

The dual with Iowa will begin at 6 p.m. Friday in Ames at Beyer Pool.