After trip to Puerto Rico, Cyclones set to take on Illinois


Senior Savanna Townsend races in the Women 500 Fly race. Iowa State Swim and Dive hosted the Alumni Cardinal and Gold meet on Sept. 30.

Rachel Given

The Iowa State swimmers and divers started the 2017 part of their season a little more bronze and tan than they were when they ended 2016. The team arrived back in Ames just before spring classes started after a week training trip to Puerto Rico.

Now, despite coming back from the warm climate, the Cyclones will turn around and take on Illinois this weekend on the road. 

A weekly training trip to a warmer climate is always in the schedule for the Cyclones, and team captain Savanna Townsend believes there are many benefits to the trip.

“Training trips are a great way to keep us accountable for our training,” Townsend said. “If we were to go home, the motivation levels might not be there. It’s a lot easier to train as a team and together.”

Townsend also said the trips help keep the team in shape during a long winter break.

Townsend said the training varied from day to day, and the coaching staff put the athletes in different groups depending on their specialties. Being a sprinter, Townsend said her group worked on power and speed drills using equipment such as tubing and Speedo shoots in the water.

Head coach Duane Sorenson challenged the team on the sixth night of practice by holding a “mini meet.” He said he was very pleased with how the team responded to the meet and to the trip as a whole.

“It was one of the best training trip practices I’ve ever had in my 20 years at Iowa State,” Sorenson said.

The team eventually made its way back to Ames and has a full schedule on the calendar for the next four weekends.

Iowa State’s record against Illinois has been a close one in past years, and Sorenson thinks the Fighting Illini are a great matchup to end the Cyclones’ non-conference schedule. Illinois usually comes out sharper than Iowa State, and Sorenson knows the Fighting Illini put up a good fight, which could hurt the Cyclones after a long training trip.

In past seasons, the team is usually very exhausted getting back into their regular training modes and back into classes after the trip. Sorenson always says the first meet after the break is “interesting” because of the different levels of exhaustion. Team performance is always up in the air the weekend back from break but Sorenson and assistant head coach Kelly Nordell ask the women to “get up and compete.”

The team has to pull together through the exhaustion to compete and Sorenson believes that will be the team’s strongest aspect against the Fighting Illini.

“They’re mentally tired and physically tired,” Sorenson said. “To get themselves up for Saturday, they’ll need to lean on each other.”

The team will rely on each other for energy.

“I know it’s going to be tough competing after a week long training trip,” Townsend said. “But you just gotta push yourself and stay positive.”