Swim and dive plan to simulate Big 12 meet against Kansas


Gillian Holte/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State Senior Maddie Rastall prepares to swim the 50-yard freestyle. Rastall finished second with a time of 24.29.

Rachel Given

The Iowa State and Kansas rivalry is strong in every sport, but for the swim and dive teams, it means even more.

Iowa State’s head swim coach Duane Sorenson and Kansas’ head swim coach Clark Campbell have a long friendship that dates back to when the two were coaching in Minnesota. The friendship gets put aside every year when they compete. 

“Neither one of us likes to lose,” Sorenson said with a smile.

In Big 12 swimming and diving, Texas dominates by a landslide, always taking first place at conference championships. Since the other Big 12 schools know first place is out of the question, they shoot for second place, but it’s always just as competitive.

“This dual meet is always tough because it’s Kansas and they’re pretty fast,” junior Harper Emswiler said. “It may be the biggest meet of the year [for ISU]. It’s pretty much like winning Big 12’s.”

The coaching staff agreed to have the dual meet mirror how the conference championship will run, and split the competition into a two-day event. This gives the swimmers a glimpse at how their bodies will feel after two days of competition to prepare them for the three-day competition coming up in their schedule.

“It really does simulate Big 12’s for us,” Emswiler said. “We have to compete in the afternoon and get back up in the morning and compete again. [Kansas] is our main competition [at Big 12’s] so in another two weeks we’ll be doing the exact same thing again. It’s good practice.”

Sorenson said, he wants his swimmers to focus on racing more than making times for the Kansas meet. He wants his team to focus more on their mental game.

“Swimmers are notorious for just getting fixated on their own personal time rather than to go out and beat the person next to them,” Sorenson said.  “That’s just the culture of our sport.”

Emswiler said she changes her focus on beating the person in the lane next to her, rather than beating her own time from the previous meet.

Changing the focus is one way Sorenson thinks will help the team win, but Emswiler thought Kansas’s abilities in the water is enough to spark extra energy.

“The competition is always crazy,” Emswiler said. “It’s another level for sure.”

Emswiler said just competing against the Jayhawks pushes the team to go faster and she believes the Cyclones do a good job at stepping up the block. She also thinks the Jayhawks have a lot of depth, just like the Cyclones making races and times that much closer.

“Win or lose, you use it as motivation,” Sorenson said.