ISU Swim ready to make a splash


Brian Mozey/Iowa State Daily

Freshman Mary Kate Luddy swims the 200-yard butterfly. Luddy earned second place during the event as Iowa State defeated West Virginia 157-143 on Jan. 24. 

Rachel Given

The Iowa State Swimming and Diving team has a lot to live up to this year.

Last season, coach Duane Sorenson led the team to its best finish in school history in the Big 12 Championship, taking second place.

This year, Sorenson hopes to break a number of school records.

“The 400 individual medley is the oldest one up there, it was set in 2001,” Sorenson said. “Mary Kate Luddy just missed breaking it last year by [0.6 seconds].”

Luddy broke the record in 200 butterfly and wants to break it again this year. Karyl Clarete already has three school records, and her goal is to better her times.

Mollie McNeel is right behind Clarete with times, and Sorenson hopes they push each other this season. Kasey Roberts broke the 200 breaststroke and 200 individual medley last year, and her goal is to break those records again plus the 100 breaststroke this year.

“We’ve got a lot of people who are school record holders, who are on the team, and they want to be greedy and get more,” Sorenson said.

Sorenson said the team’s biggest opponents this year are Kansas and Texas, which has won the championship “for eons.”

“Texas is a major step ahead of all the other teams in the conference, so we’re usually fighting out for second place,” Sorenson said. “Kansas had a really good recruiting class, so they should be pretty strong, and they didn’t graduate that many kids from last season.”

Sorenson predicts Kansas, Iowa State, Texas Christian and West Virginia will all be vying for second place.

“[Kansas, Iowa State, Texas Christian, West Virginia] are very competitive with each other, but all four teams have gotten a lot better, and we’re closing the gap with the Texas swimmers,” Sorenson said.

As for injuries, the team is only missing one player. Kaarin Quaerna, a freshman, is out from a shoulder operation this past year.

“It’s a long process for her to come back, she may end up using a medical redshirt. … We don’t expect her to be eligible to start training until December, maybe January,” Sorenson said.

On Wednesday Sorenson meets with the team, but leading up to the meet, the athletes have a private meeting with the purpose of revving each other up.

“I always have high expectations, but when I can help coach them to something that they never thought that they could achieve, that gets me pretty pumped up,” Sorenson said. “We talk about giving each other energy as [teammates]; try to give your teammate energy and in return, you’ll have energy.”

Sorenson hates losing, and he believes every meet the team has this year is an opportunity for the Cyclones to win.

“We spend a lot of time trying to figure out lineups and strategy, and what swimmer to put in what event to try to give us the best successes,” Sorenson said.

“Everything we do is geared toward the Big 12 Championships, to have a peak performance there.”

The Cyclones dive into their first season meet on October 3 at 7 p.m. at Beyer Hall.