Iowa swimming and diving hard at work a week ahead of championship season

The Hawkeye swimming and diving teams are gearing up for the final stretch of the season this week.


Hannah Kinson

Iowa’s Hannah Burvill dives off the blocks in the 400 Freestyle Relay during a swim meet at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center between Iowa and Rutgers on Nov. 8, 2019.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

A relaxed and laid-back feeling filled the pool deck at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center on Feb. 8.

Iowa held its annual Senior Night meet against Western Illinois, and both the Hawkeye men and women took care of their opponent with ease.

The meet — where many athletes were swimming events that they hadn’t swam all year — gave the team “a break,” according to senior Forrest White.

RELATED: Swimming and diving downs Western Illinois on Senior Night

Break time is over.

Even though the women don’t suit up to swim against the rest of the Big Ten until next week, the men following a week later, both teams are busy preparing for the most important event of the year.

This is the final week to make small tweaks and tune-ups for the meet, but the athletes have looked forward to the event since the start of the season back in the fall.

“It’s a whole season of preparation,” sophomore Aleksey Tarasenko said. “You start the season in September, and you work hard until Big Tens. You can change different things that you want to take with you, but actually it’s about the systematic routine.

“You need to trust the process and trust your coaches and just work hard. Mentally, yes you need to prepare yourself, especially the week before. Most people think its 50-50, muscle and mentality, but really, it’s just your body. It’s a physical thing. It’s more important what you have in your brain when the time comes to race.”

As a freshman a year ago, Tarasenko helped lead the Hawkeyes to a sixth-place finish in the 800-free relay at the conference meet held in Iowa City. He also finished 10th individually in the 200-free at the 2019 Big Ten championships and was a member of the 400-free relay that finished third at the meet and earned an NCAA “A” cut.

Senior Hannah Burvill will use what she has learned from participating in the last three Big Ten Championships to help her perform her best during her final races at the CRWC.

She has set many career bests and school records during competition at the championships in past seasons, some of which she has broken and some that still stand.

“From doing this over four years, I know how to approach it,” Burvill said. “I’m not as in my head as I was during my freshman year. I used to overthink things at let them get to me, but now I’ve been more open minded and focused right ahead of me instead of what is four months away.

“I’m facing this meet with my head down and try not to put too much pressure on it since it is my last one as a senior. What makes it different is that we know the environment, the pool, and the setup. We’ve got that home advantage, because we feel comfortable here.”

The women will host the Big Ten meet from Feb. 19-22, and the men will travel to Bloomington, Indiana, for their turn from Feb. 26- 29.

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