Iowa women’s swim/dive gets impressive dual meet win ahead of mid-season invitational

After a victory against Rutgers on Nov. 8, the women’s swimming and diving team is confident heading into its mid-season test at the Minnesota Invitational.


Hannah Kinson

Iowa’s Aleksandra Olesiak competes in the 200 Breaststroke during a swim meet at the CRWC between Iowa and Rutgers on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. Olesiak finished first with a time of 2:18.85.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

After strong performances in tight losses to both Minnesota and Michigan in the last two weeks, the Iowa women’s swimming and diving team got back in the win column on Nov. 8 against Rutgers. The meet marked the first ever dual against the Scarlet Knights since Rutgers joined the Big Ten back in 2014.

In the team’s last competitive swim before both Iowa’s men and women will head to their mid-season invitational in Minneapolis on Dec. 4-7, the Hawkeyes defeated the Scarlett Knights 199-100.

Head coach Marc Long was happy with how his team performed after a tough three-week stretch.

“Any Big Ten win is a good win,” Long said. “Really happy with how they competed today. I mean, we swept them on the boards, and Kelsey Drake had an outstanding meet again. Across the board it looked like people really stepped up. I’ve been saying all year, when half your team is freshmen, it’s going to always keep developing, and that’s just what’s happened.”

In the diving events, Jayah Mathews, Sam Tamborski, and Thelma Strandberg, finished 1-2-3 in both the 1 and 3-meter contests.

Drake won the 100 and 200-fly along with the 200-IM, and she is confident that her times will only improve before the swim in Minnesota.

“I feel like I put myself in a really good place right now,” Drake said. “My 200-fly has been felling really good, and I’m really excited to swim that shaved and tapered at Minnesota, and then my 100-fly, too. I think just these past three weeks of competition have really been good for all of us. It makes me very excited heading into Minnesota, because I think we’re going to do some really great things.”

RELATED: Iowa women’s swim/dive downs Rutgers in dominant fashion

Another bright spot for the Hawkeyes was freshman Aleksandra Olesiak. She captured her first two collegiate wins on Friday, topping the podium in the 100 and 200-breast.

“It was fun,” Olesiak said, “It was really nice to enjoy finally not being out-touched for the first time and able to pull out a win for the first time as a freshman.”

Before the Minnesota Invitational, Long said that the team will watch a lot of video of its races to fine tune a couple details. He specifically mentioned working on turns.

With an unusually young team this season (17 freshmen), Long wants to continue to see good practice habits and steady improvements.

“Some of these kids, you know, come out of high school, they can kind of swim how they want and they’re going to win the event,” Long said. “[Now] they have to go almost their state meet time maybe to win some of these dual meets. So, it’s been an adjustment in practice to train that way and then to step up in meets and do that, and that’s what we’re starting to see: still a lot of growth and that’s exciting.”

The freshmen on both the men’s and women’s teams will certainly play a major role in how successful the Hawkeye’s will be when they travel to Minneapolis next month.

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