Sixth-year senior swimmer hopes to leave with a bang


Ryan Young/Iowa State Daily

Redshirt senior Carissa Poeschel approaches the wall in the 100-yard butterfly against Nebraska on Oct. 18.

Trey Alessio

The documents sat on a table right in front of Carissa Poeschel, and she signed her name on the dotted line. At that point, she had signed with Northern Arizona on a swimming scholarship, and she thought she had it all planned out.

Two days before Poeschel was supposed to leave her hometown of Portland, Ore., she received a phone call from Northern Arizona, telling her that a class she took her senior year was not an acceptable credit toward the NCAA core curriculum, and she was not eligible.

After taking an online class through Brigham Young University in Utah to get the necessary credits, she realized she took the wrong class. After taking another class, Poeschel tried to get in touch with the Northern Arizona coach. After several unanswered phone calls and emails, Poeschel found out that her scholarship had been given away for the next year.

“I kind of freaked out,” Poeschel said, “but I contacted as many coaches as I could and ended up talking to [ISU coaches] Kelly [Nordell] and Duane [Sorenson].”

Poeschel said a big factor that weighed into her decision to come to Iowa State was the fact that it was one of the only schools left that had recruiting money for her to come on a visit. When she stepped foot on the campus, she knew Iowa State was the place for her.

She began her swimming career and went to training like any other ISU swimmer until she faced another setback.

“I had a third degree ankle sprain, so I totally ruptured two ligaments in my foot,” Poeschel said. “I ended up swimming a year with that injury. It was very hard. I didn’t know what was wrong—the doctors didn’t know what was wrong until the year after [the injury].”

The doctors found out the injury was largely based in Poeschel’s heel. With all the confusion, she sat out the entire 2013-2014 season and was redshirted.

“I felt like I was lucky in a way that I got that year because being able to watch all the meets and not being able to swim really got me motivated to want to swim this year,” Poeschel said.

Sorenson has recognized Poeschel’s resiliency and wants to see her leave with a bang.

“It goes back to her personality,” Sorenson said. “She’s not a quitter. She’s going to fight through it, and once she starts something, she’s going to keep going.”

Poeschel’s goal for this season is to swim some career bests. She said she hasn’t gone for a best time since her senior year of high school.

Due to a sudden illness, Poeschel wasn’t able to compete in the Kansas Invitational from Nov. 21-23, but she has her sights set on the Cy-Hawk meet against Iowa on Friday, Dec. 12.