ISU swimming focuses on technical aspects heading into Kansas Invitational

Trey Alessio

The ISU swimming and diving team didn’t start off as strong as it had hoped against TCU, but it finished strong, taking home a close win of 157-147.

If Iowa State can continue its momentum from the TCU victory, it should be fine heading into the Kansas Invitational. Senior and team captain Kristy Kunkel said the goal is to just have fun and carry over the win.

The Kansas Invitational is different from other swimming meets. It’s a 3-day “swimmers only” event with four competing teams. ISU coach Duane Sorenson said the divers won the TCU meet for the Cyclones on Nov. 7, so this upcoming meet will give the swimmers a chance to come through on their own.

“Everybody has their own little area that they’ve got to work on,” Sorenson said. “We’re trying to hold our women a little more accountable with what they need to do and what they need to work on to become faster. That’s the emphasis for this week.”

Sorenson said they’re also working on mental preparation because of the different format for the Kansas Invitational. A lot of the swimmers will be racing in 4-to-6 individual events plus the possibility of 3-to-4 relays, and Sorenson said that’s a mental thing they’ll have to overcome.

“It’s better because there’s more competition—you’re not just focusing on one team,” Kunkel said. “There’s four other teams in this situation, which I think fuels us all to go faster.”

Assistant coach Kelly Nordell said the focus at practice this week has been on the technical aspects of their training.

“[The swimmers] have been pretty beat up and tired, and last week was a really tough week of training so we’ve been trying to focus on a little race-type strategy—turns and even pacing,” Nordell said.

The Kansas Invitational includes some events that the Cyclones have yet to race in this year, such as the 400-meter individual medley, the 800-meter freestyle relay and the 1650-meter. Sorenson said he plans to put some swimmers in different events as a sort of experimentation.

But the goal remains to go out, swim fast and beat Kansas.

“Kansas always puts up a tough team,” Nordell said. “We respect each other as competitors, but ultimately we want to beat them. We want to have the edge in future competitions.”

Sorenson said every race counts and the meet being against Kansas provides some extra motivation.

“It’s going to be a fun meet because Kansas is going to be up and ready to go,” Sorenson said. “It’s their home meet so we know they’re going to be prepared so we’ve got to be just as prepared and just as competitive as they are.”

The Kansas Invitational will take place Nov. 21 through Nov. 23 in Topeka, Kansas.