Hawkeyes ready and confident for Big Tens


The end of the regular swimming season is here, and the Hawkeyes are excited about competing in this year’s Big Ten meet, which will start today at Ohio State.   

A year’s worth of hard work and competing has led up to championships, and the team members will face some of the best swimmers in the country. 

“Top to bottom, this league has got just some amazing depth, and there are 13 teams there,” head coach Marc Long said. “We haven’t seen Rutgers yet, but it’s very challenging and is the deepest meet in the country. But I also look at it that it as the most exciting meet, and we’re excited to be a part of it.”

Even though the Big Tens is extremely competitive, the Hawkeyes are hungry to do well. 

“There are a lot of good swimmers in my events in the Big Ten’s,” Hawkeye senior Becky Stoughton said. “Anyone and everyone who’s not wearing a Hawkeye cap I’m gunning for.”

Being in her final season as a Hawkeye, Stoughton is excited to finish off her last Big Ten championship on a high note. 

There also are an a number of rivalries among the Big Ten swimmers, with one of the biggest being between Hawk sophomore Emma Sougstad and Kierra Smith from Minnesota.

“I have a pretty big competitor in the 100-meter breaststroke and 200-meter breaststroke from Minnesota,” Sougstad said. “I am really excited to race her, and I feel like every time I do, she pushes me a lot more. I get a best time anytime I race her.”

Sougstad hopes to finish under a minute in the 100 breaststroke to beat her college best time of 1:00.90 she set in last year’s Big Ten meet.

Overall, the team will rely on a season’s worth of training and practice to guide them through the Big Tens.

“We’ve been practicing for this since late April for this, some of us in June,” Sougstad said. “And I guess we’re just going to let the training come through, and the team will pull us through and see how everyone does.”

Nerves aside, the Hawkeyes say they’re confident in the training and practicing that it has done all year and are ready to swim fast to get the times they need in order to continue the season.

“I think one of the main objectives of course is to get people to the NCAAs,” Long said. “We’ve got so many new people who are excited to be cut loose in a big meet like this, so it’s hard to say where we’ll finish, but as a program we want to keep moving up and up.”

Follow @RodEngblom on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa women’s swimming and diving team.

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