Freshman have immediate impact for ISU swimming, diving

Alex Crowl

The ISU swimming and diving team knew they had an impressive freshman recruiting class, and the quick success has boosted the Cyclones to a race away from a perfect season.   

“It has been very pleasant,” said ISU coach Duane Sorenson. “We knew they were very talented, and we try not to put the pressure on the freshman coming in, but they have all been ready for the challenge.”

Mary Kate Luddy, a distance freestyle, butterfly and individual medley swimmer and Kasey Roberts, a breast stroke and individual medley swimmer, were both state champions in high school. Laura Miksch, a sprint and breaststroke swimmer for the Cyclones, was also a state champion.

“They know how to win,” Sorenson said. “They go out there and really get after it, they don’t really worry about who the other person is they just go out and race.”

ISU diving coach Jeff Warrick has a freshman diver in Sydney Ronald as well. 

“She has a great attitude,” Warrick said. “She is a very hard worker, and she fits right in with the girls and they are enjoying being together which makes practices fun.”

Being collegiate athletes for the first time is a major life change, and the transition from high school academics and athletics to the collegiate level has commonalities and changes.

The structure of the program is clearly intact under Sorenson and he has set up a great environment for high school swimmers to enter his program comfortably.

“High school was actually very similar to what we have here,” Roberts said. “It’s very formatted. We all have the same caps and the same suits.”

“I train the same amount and the same hours here as I did in high school,” said Luddy. “It’s a lot different here though, because there are more weights and the practices and recovery are a lot harder.”

This freshman class had some clear expectations laid out from what they had heard from the coaching staff coming into Beyer Hall.

“I think as a class we knew we would help score points and help the team and everything,” Roberts said. “But I didn’t think we realized how much we would be involved in the meets and scoring.”

An observation of the team is the idea that no class within this program is on its own. They are truly a team and work well together.

“We’re so close and they just made it so much easier for us to come in,” said Danica Delaquis, a breast stroke and individual medley swimmer, “Everyone else just made us feel so comfortable. We were just instantly apart of the team, and they just made it feel like a family.”

Some other adjustments have to be made as well, from being away from home to being pushed academically.

“For me what has been the hardest is school,” said Luddy. “Adjusting to that and swimming has been the hardest for me.