99 wins and counting for ISU swimming and diving’s elite sprinter


Michael Rowley/Iowa State Daily

Senior Amanda Paulson takes first in the 100 fly against South Dakota State on Oct. 17 in Beyer Hall.

Alex Crowl

School records in the 50-yard freestyle and the 200-yard freestyle relay may be more than enough for Amanda Paulson, but eclipsing 100 career victories will only add to her résumé.

Paulson has been an elite competitor and sprinter in the water for Iowa State since she stepped on campus in the fall of 2011. She was an exciting recruit to land for the Cyclones and the coaching staff said it was pleased with her addition to team.

Paulson has always loved to race, but had to learn to train entering the collegiate level. Paulson has dramatically improved in multiple events and has remained an elite sprinter during all four years at Iowa State.

Collegiate athletes are part of a highly competitive breed, but there appears to be something more than that when it comes to Paulson.

“She’s just a super competitive person,” said ISU coach Duane Sorenson. “The more games you put out in front of her, as far as in practice, of just making a game out of it and who can win this game … she just thrives on that.”

Coach Sorenson went as far as to mention assistant coach Kelly Nordell, referring to Paulson as a cat that pounces on the opportunity to compete. Paulson’s competitive edge has certainly attributed to the claiming of her 99 career victories as a cyclone.

Paulson, however, was completely unaware of where she stood in terms of career wins.

“I didn’t know that I was close to 100 wins until it was announced Jan. 31,” Paulson said. “Now the pressure is on for this weekend.”

The final dual meet of the season at Kansas will be Paulson’s next opportunity to reach 100 career victories. Assuming the lineup is consistent with previous contests, Paulson will be swimming on the A relay team in the 200-yard medley. She will get her shot at 100 during the first event of the meet against Kansas in Lawrence.

It is clear that coach Nordell has a lot invested in her swimmers. This is evident when she speaks of Paulson’s career. Nordell’s sense of pride and emotion regarding Paulson’s career shines in her words.

“I was watching her swim and I turned to a teammate and I said, ‘I’m just taking this in because I know there is only a few more opportunities for me to watch this,’” Nordell said. “She’s so powerful and yet so graceful, and you just don’t do what she’s done for four years. You just don’t find people like that. What she can do … is just incredible. It’s greatness.”

Nordell also mentioned that Paulson would be embarrassed to know she was being cast in the limelight and not the team as a whole, which speaks to Paulson’s humble character.

Coach Sorenson praised Paulson’s effort this past four years as the push for championship season is beginning.

“It’s been a lot of fun coaching her these last four years just because you don’t get a person who is that highly competitive and that talented that comes along all the time,” Sorenson said.