Iowa swimming taking advantage of time off

With Iowa’s next competition set for Oct. 26, this week is an important training opportunity for the rest of the season.


David Harmantas

Iowa swimmer Kelsey Drake swims the 100m butterfly during a swim meet against the University of Northern Iowa and Western Illinois University on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

After the women’s swimming/diving team finished in fourth place at last weekend’s SMU Classic in Dallas, Texas, both the men’s and women’s teams won’t compete again until they welcome the Minnesota Golden Gophers to Iowa City Oct. 26.

The week away from competition gives both teams time to train hard and get ready for four Big Ten dual meets in November and the Minnesota Invitational in December before the holiday break.

“We have one [meet] in December. We’re going to Minnesota, and we’ll be up against some of the best teams in the nation,” senior Will Scott said. “Cal will be there and Texas, so that’s a meet that we really have our eyes set on. And then, of course, Big Ten’s, the rest of these meets, they’re just as important.”

Cal and Texas were ranked as the top two teams in the country last season, according to Cal is currently second in this year’s rankings, but Iowa isn’t far behind at No. 14

The week off is placed well on the schedule as the competition will get tougher and times will get faster throughout the fall and into the winter months.

“[Training is] exactly what you’re looking for at this time of year,” Scott said. “It’s all about getting better and you can’t get better if you’re just competing. Having the time to train, work on technique and everything like that, it’s a really good time.”

RELATED: Women’s swim/dive races to fourth place finish at SMU Classic

The difficult training sessions during the week off also allow for the building of important team chemistry.

“Just picking up your teammate next to you, keeping spirits high,” Scott said. “We have some hard practices, and, as a team, finishing them together means a lot.”

The team has taken a week off in mid-October after the first couple of events for the past three years, and the athletes see positives in training and the next competitions.

“Definitely going in after having a week off from competition, you can feel that kind of freshness,” junior Kelsey Drake said. “Even though we are training hard, it’s still nice to have that week off from racing.”

The freshness has shown in the team’s past results from meets in the month of November as Iowa’s men’s and women’s squads have a combined record of 7-5 in dual meets during that month.

For the second-consecutive season, the off week comes on the heels of the SMU Classic for Iowa, where the Hawkeyes finished in fourth place for the second year in a row. Drake contributed a solo third place finish in the 200-fly (1:59.74) and was part of multiple successful relay teams.

She saw the meet as an encouraging sign for her team.

“The times were really good,” Drake said. “The competition was super-fast, and I think it was a really good meet for everyone. Personally, I was very happy with the times I went.”

The Hawkeye-Golden Gopher matchup is set for an 11 a.m. start Oct. 26 at the Campus Recreation Wellness Center.

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