Second place and pie to the face: ISU Swimming and Diving find success at Big 12 Championship

Alex Crowl

Any season ending with a pie to the face of its head coach is a season to remember.

ISU swimming and diving achieved everything they wanted and more at the 2015 Women’s Big 12 Championship.

Iowa State returned home from Austin, Texas with five school records, 39 ISU all-time top 20 times, 41 personal records, 28 medals, 15 second-team all-Big 12 honors, 3 first-team all-Big 12 honors and the best finish in the Big 12 era at second place.

The other two major honors handed to Iowa State were Newcomer of the Meet to freshman Kasey Roberts and Women’s Coach of the Meet to Duane Sorenson.

“The team really put it together from the very first relay, we swam until the last relay,” Sorenson said. “Everybody just swam and dove their hearts out and it was very exciting that everybody came together. Not just our 16 women that swam and scored and the four divers, but the 10 non-scorers all swam lights out and motivated everybody on the team to swim well.”

Roberts had another tremendous showing in an unfamiliar environment. She swam well in all of her top races, earning her accolades.

“It was a great feeling and everybody was super excited,” Roberts said. “Being named newcomer of the meet and having Duane become coach of the meet was just a great way to end my freshman year.”

The excitement of everything that happened in the water this past week was overwhelming for the team. The plan to pie the coach’s face, which originated with senior Kristy Kunkel, took this year’s accomplishments to a whole different level.

As the team came out of their goals meeting this past September, Kunkel had a season ending goal in mind and was thinking about an interesting way to cap off what she thought might be a special season.

Kunkel described how she brought up the goal and consequent pie to coach Sorenson.

“Duane, we have to make like a little goal for this year,” Kunkel said. “ I don’t know why I thought of pie, but I was like ‘so if we get second, will you like let me put a pie in your face?’ He was like, ‘Yeah sure, Kristy.’”

Kunkel figured at that time that Sorenson doubted their chances, which is why he accepted. Kunkel first realized that the requirements to win her bet might be met when she looked up at the scoreboard after the second day. From there, it was in the back of her head for the rest of the meet.

Kunkel didn’t mention it to anyone as the meet carried on because she wanted it to be a surprise. As soon as Iowa State got second, Kunkel sent her father to the store to get a pie. He could not procure one and so the only alternative was whipped cream along with other added ingredients.

Coach Sorenson’s speech went a little longer than Kunkel expected and the pie was melting. Kunkel knew she had to be the first one up to Sorenson following the speech and was able to deliver the pie into her head coach’s face.

“[It was] priceless,” Kunkel said. “Probably the best moment of my life. It was awesome.”

Coach Sorenson did an outstanding job describing his experience and allowing Kunkel to fulfill the team’s agreement.

“Unfortunately, the pie was very runny,” Sorenson said. “It was whipped cream, sugar and white goo. She gave me two napkins about the size of your palm and it really didn’t help much, but it was worth it. It must have been one of my weaker moments when I said, ‘yeah, you can go ahead and do that.’ She remembered. I forgot. And there it was.”

Remaining on the schedule for Iowa State is Zone Diving on Feb. 9 to 11. Julie Dickinson, Elyse Brouillette and Sydney Ronald will compete for Iowa State in Iowa City at the event, where hey will have the opportunity to qualify for NCAA Championship.

For the swimmers, they will find out this week if any of their times will be good enough to make the NCAA Championship. Roberts will be close and have a chance at it, and Bre Loeschke and Marissa Engel also have good times in the 200-yard backstroke, but would be considered on the bubble.