ISU swimming and diving focuses on little things to clinch the Cy-Hawk series


Ryan Young/Iowa State Daily

The ISU swimming and diving team hosted the University of Nebraska on Oct. 18. 

Trey Alessio

What’s on the line? Pride. That’s what the Cy-Hawk rivalry comes down to, and it’s no different for ISU swimming and diving.

The series is currently at 11-2 in Iowa State’s favor. The magic number is 13, and now the pressure is on the ISU swimmers and divers, as well as the men’s and women’s basketball teams to get wins for Iowa State in order to clinch the series.

“It doesn’t make a difference what sport is competing, both sides rise up to the occasion,” said ISU coach Duane Sorenson. “You see tremendous performances from both teams. It’s a pretty exciting atmosphere and it’s just a great athletic contest for both teams. We bring the best out of each other.”

Sorenson said last year was the Iowa diving coach’s first time experiencing the Cy-Hawk rivalry, and he was very surprised with how well his Iowa divers performed. Sorenson told Iowa’s coach, “that’s just the Cy-Hawk series.”

Last season, the Cyclones lost a close one to the Hawkeyes at home. This year, they are preparing to head to Iowa City to take on the Hawkeyes, who are coming off a strong win.

This week’s focus has been about the little things for Iowa State.

“We’ve done a little more speed work this week,” Sorenson said. “We’re really paying attention to the details—fast turns, good breakouts, finishing into the wall strong at the end of swim sets. We’re just trying to fine-tune everything to get ourselves prepared to do the best we can.”

Junior Marissa Engel said the swimmers are swimming fewer yards in practice with more of a focus on the technique.

With this year’s Cy-Hawk series record and last year’s close loss against Iowa in mind, many of the swimmers are motivated to get back in the pool and compete in the rivalry.

“[Last year’s loss] is just motivation to show our freshmen what we did, and really show them what it’s like to be at the Iowa meet,” Engel said. “I wouldn’t count [the Cy-Hawk series record] as a pressure. I think of it more as motivation and pride.”

One of those freshmen is Danica Delaquis. She has never experienced the rivalry, but is excited to be a part of it.

“From the other girls, I’ve heard it’s a pretty big rivalry,” Delaquis said. “The energy on the pool deck is energizing. I’m excited to see what’s it all about.”

Sorenson said the key to going against Iowa in a rivalry meet is coming out with those close third, fourth and fifth place finishes.

“We’ve got to win those close races for first place and try to beat out their third and fourth-place swimmers,” Sorenson said.

Iowa State will take on its in-state foe Dec. 12 in Iowa City, Iowa.

“It’s always fun because you always have somebody that really stand out that you didn’t expect to stand out,” Sorenson said. “Somebody is going to step up and do something. We just ask everybody to go out and give it their best shot.”