Hawkeyes finish first day of Big Tens in sixth

A Hawkeye school record in one race and a season-best in another left Iowa in sixth place after the first day of the Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships.


Katina Zentz

UI swimmer Emelia Sansome competes during the triangle meet against Michigan State and UNI on Thursday, October 3, 2019.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

Exactly half of the Iowa women’s swimming and diving roster is made up of freshmen, and they shined bright on day one of the Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships.

Four of the eight spots up for grabs in the two relays contested on the first day were filled by Iowa first-years. 

Mille Sansome raced in both the 200-medley relay and the 800-free relay. Kennedy Gilbertson competed in the 200-medley relay, and Macy Rink saw action in the 800-free relay. 

“The upperclassmen have done a great job of bringing [the freshman] along,” head coach Marc Long said. “We love to race. We’re excited to have that, and tonight it was really great to see people step up.”

The freshman-senior dynamic was evident in the 800-free relay as seniors Hannah Burvill and Allyssa Fluit led off the race, and Sansome and Rink finished off the event in record time. 

The Hawkeyes’ final tally of 704.70 not only broke the school record but totally demolished it.

“They’ve been focused all year. They trained hard,” Long said. “Things really started to come together in the 800 relay late in the season so as far as who’s on it. The great thing is we have a lot of battling going on for these relays, which makes everyone better.”

The race Wednesday resulted in a finish that was more than three seconds faster than the precious school record of 7:08.06, set in 2018.

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“I don’t think we really thought about the school record,” Sansome said. “We were kind of just thinking about where we were going to come in. Just trying to race out these really big teams, try to hunt them down and to give it everything. But to get a four-second break of the school record ‘s incredible.”

The historic finish earned the Hawkeyes a fourth-place finish and 52 points overall in the 800-free competition. Iowa was bested by Michigan, Ohio State, and a Wisconsin team that set a new pool record of 6:55.84. 

Iowa also had a finish for the books in the 200-medley relay. A 1:39.94 time was recorded by the team of Sansome, Gilbertson, and juniors Sage Ohlensehlen and Kelsey Drake. The time was good for the sixth-best in school history. 

A ninth-place finish in that race gave the Hawkeyes 40 points in the 200-medley. 

The 92 point day-one total put Iowa in a tie with Purdue for sixth place. Michigan leads the championship 118 points, followed by Ohio State with 112 and Wisconsin with 108.

Last season, the Hawkeyes found themselves two spots lower on the leaderboard in eighth place after the first day of competition. 

“It’s a good start,” Long said. “But we’ve got a lot of swimming and diving left to go.”

Thursday’s first full day of action in Iowa City will feature the 500-free, 200-individual medley, 50-free, 400-medley relay, and one-meter diving events. The preliminary races will begin at 11 a.m., and the finals start at 6 p.m. 

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