Swimming/Diving enters thick of schedule

Iowa+swimmer+Kenneth+Mende+swims+at+the+Campus+Recreation+and+Wellness+Center+on+Saturday%2C+Dec+5%2C+2015.+%28The+Daily+Iowan%2FPeter+Kim%29
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Swimming/Diving enters thick of schedule

Iowa swimmer Kenneth Mende swims at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center on Saturday, Dec 5, 2015. (The Daily Iowan/Peter Kim)

Iowa swimmer Kenneth Mende swims at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center on Saturday, Dec 5, 2015. (The Daily Iowan/Peter Kim)

Peter Kim

Iowa swimmer Kenneth Mende swims at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center on Saturday, Dec 5, 2015. (The Daily Iowan/Peter Kim)

Peter Kim

Peter Kim

Iowa swimmer Kenneth Mende swims at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center on Saturday, Dec 5, 2015. (The Daily Iowan/Peter Kim)

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The Iowa swimming and diving teams will travel to Evanston, Illinois, for a Big Ten dual against Northwestern on Saturday.

Coming off of a strong meet against Notre Dame and Illinois, both the men’s and women’s teams are in strong spots to compete in the conference once again.

Having a meet the weekend before has helped the team as a whole with consistency and transitioning between training and racing mindsets.

“It kind of gets you back in the mode of racing,” Hannah Burvill said. “Especially when we came back from training trip; we didn’t have a meet, we just trained straight through, so it makes it quite a bit difficult to get going.”

The team dynamic as the men faced Notre Dame on Jan. 13 is also important going into this weekend and the rest of the season. The level of competition is higher when the whole team steps up to help each other, whether they are physically in the pool or not.

“Notre Dame was a little bit of a rough meet for all of us, I think, but the last 400-meter relay of the guys really showed that we can beat them and we can step it up and actually get together as a team,” Kenneth Mende said. “I think that’s going to help all of us to get the little things in the right place and to step up and race.”

Many athletes haven’t been to the Northwestern pool before, so this gives the team a chance to train and race in a different atmosphere.

A new pool also comes with its own challenges.

The Norris Aquatics Center Natatorium is unique in that the athletes and the fans are on the same level, as opposed to the fans being higher up.

The distraction from the fans will be greater than usual; the Hawkeyes will take on the Wildcats on their Senior Night.

However, with the history of the two programs, Iowa hasn’t lost confidence.

“This week will be a great competition for both the men and the women,” head coach Marc Long said. “We are down in some areas personnel-wise, so it’ll be a good challenge for us.”

In the diving well, Iowa isn’t worried that it’s a Big Ten dual meet.

Regardless of the team the Hawkeyes face, they just want to compete at the highest possible level and to do the little things well.

“We’re coming into our kind of busy season where we’ve got just kind of back-to-back meets leading up to Big Tens, so really all I’m looking to do is perform how we want to perform at Big Tens,” diving coach Todd Waikel said.

The pace of the season will bring a new opportunity to get better at consistency, something that is important for the divers.

It’ll also get tiring going on the road, but that doesn’t come without its advantages.

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