Three Big Takeaways: Swim and dive completes regular season


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

Iowa State swimming and diving lost a head-to-head with Kansas on Friday and Saturday. However, they have plenty to look forward to heading into the Big 12 Championships.

While the Jayhawks got the better of the Cyclones 180–120, individual times improved throughout the weekend.

History made on boards

NCAA Zone Diving Championships are a month away, and Iowa State’s squad of divers got a glimpse of high-level competition against Kansas.

Jiayu Chen from Kansas was an All-American diver her freshman season, qualifying for the NCAA Championships in both the three and one-meter dives and was tops in the Big 12 in the three-meter.

Chen did not compete in the 2020-21 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Iowa State’s diving crew was tasked with keeping up with one of the nation’s best, and Iowa State’s Michelle Schlossmacher Smith did just that. 

The Cyclones’ team captain broke an Iowa State school record in the three-meter preliminaries. With six dives totaling 348.83, Schlossmacher Smith placed second among the fierce competition and topped a 14-year-old record.

Iowa State freshman Lauren Kimball earned third in the finals, and Joscelyn Buss placed fourth for the Cyclones. 

Finishing strong

Iowa State head swimming coach Duane Sorenson has challenged his swimmers to finish races strong all season.

“We really challenged them to be the competitors that they are the last length of the pool because you’re swimming against good teams,” Sorenson said following an Oct. 30 loss to Nebraska.

Again, after falling behind Friday evening to Kansas, the last leg of races was top of mind for Sorenson. 

“We just had to work on our finishes a little bit more,” Sorenson said. 

During Friday’s swimming, Iowa State got out-touched for several event wins. In the 100-backstroke, Ellie Howe of Kansas finished strong to take the win from Emily Haan by .25 seconds.

Amelie Lessing made a comeback to tie Lucia Rizzo in the 200-fly. 

“You flip all those around, we’re right in this meet,” Sorenson said. 

On day two, the Cyclones improved the last length of the pool, according to Sorenson. But, with the Big 12 Championships approaching, Iowa State needs to compete each yard of each race from start to finish. 

The senior class

Iowa State swimming and diving will lose eight seniors after the 2021-22 season.

While the future has potential for Sorenson and company, the Cyclones are going to miss one of the program’s best classes.

Lehr Thorson, Lucia Rizzo, Michelle Schlossmacher Smith, Jazlyn Horras, Martha Haas, Emily Haan, Anna Ellis and Jessica Coffin all competed at Beyer Pool for the final time Friday and Saturday.

Among the group is a variety of record holders and Cyclone legends. 

Lucia Rizzo holds both the 200 and 400-yard IM school records at Iowa State. She’s on the all-time performer’s list for multiple events and is climbing the all-time point scorers list. 

Martha Haas is the all-time point scorer at Iowa State and has been a part of a school record in the 200 medley relay. Haas has earned a top-three finish over 60 times in her five seasons as a Cyclone.

Emily Haan is a 15-time backstroke event winner for Iowa State and finished her career at Beyer Pool with a win in the 200 backstroke Saturday. 

The Big 12 Championships take place Feb. 23, giving Iowa State plenty of time to correct mistakes and prepare for the postseason.