Competition heats up at big-time swimming meet


Swimmers compete during the USA Swimming West Junior Nationals on Saturday Dec. 9, 2017. (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

Anna Kayser, [email protected]

The Iowa swimming and diving team is in a good position to prepare for the Big Ten Championships as it competes in the Shamrock Invitational beginning today.

This meet — hosted by Notre Dame (No. 22 for both men and women) — will feature such ranked opponents as Ohio State (16th/11th) and Wisconsin (No. 19 for women). In addition, Missouri State’s men’s team will compete, as well as the Akron women’s team.

“I’m actually looking forward to having a bit more teams there, so it’s a bigger meet and a little bit more pressure,” freshman diver Jayah Mathews said.

The invitational will feature a championship-style format in a condensed time frame, giving the Hawkeyes a chance to get a feel of that style before the Big Ten Championships.

“They’re excited, and we feel like we’re sharpening up each week,” head coach Marc Long said. “It’s a really tough field at this meet, and we wanted that, we wanted that challenge.”

Competition will begin at 9 a.m. today. The second session of competition will begin at 4 p.m. today, with the finals on Saturday beginning at 10 a.m.

The amount of racing in the two-day period is a lot for swimmers to handle, but it’s good preparation for the conference meet.

“You’re squeezing an entire Big Ten Championship meet into fewer than two days, and so it’s a gut-buster, but it’s an important time to race and to get ready for our championship season,” Long said.

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During regular dual meets, some events are left out; in a meet with this format, every event is included. Athletes will get to swim some of the longer events, such as the mile and some of the longer relays that they haven’t seen much this season.

Even so, both swimmers and divers are prepared for the competition and how it will transition into championship season.

“It’s a little bit of an advantage to kind of get that time table or just the feel of how Big Tens will be,” Mathews said.

The only event that is left out of the meet is the 10-meter tower diving.

Freshman Jonatan Posligua is mainly a tower diver and is prepared to do his best on the springboard this weekend. However, it hasn’t toned down his excitement for the Big Ten meet.

“[I’m excited to compete] at my best level, to perform my dives the best I can, and obviously to get my fullest at 10-meters, which is what I’m working on right now,” he said.

As with every meet, the main thing the swimmers are focused on is getting the chance to race.

A big part of the championship style — especially swimming against ranked teams — is that it will prepare the Hawkeyes for what they will see not only in the Big Ten Championships but in the NCAA meet, if they qualify.

“I think I’ll get a feel for what it will be like racing against the big boys,” freshman Daniel Swanepoel said.

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