Iowa swimming finishes ninth at Big Ten Championships

More school records propelled the Hawkeyes on the final day of competition.


Megan Nagorzanski

Swimmers dive into the pool during the 100 Breast during the second session of the the 2020 Big Ten Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship at the the HTRC on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

On the fourth and final day of the women’s Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships in Iowa City, Ohio State claimed the crown with a meet total of 1,503.5 points. Michigan finished second with 1,306.5 and Indiana rounded out the top three scoring 964.

Iowa finished ninth tallying 430 points overall and 114 on Saturday. The Hawkeyes finished 87.5 points behind Penn State and 45 ahead of Nebraska.

On the final day of official competition at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center, freshmen Julia Koluch and Kennedy Gilbertson each qualified for the ‘C’ final of the 200-back. Fellow first-year Millie Sansome qualified for the ‘A’ final in that event, breaking her own school-record in the prelims, swimming a 1:54.86 to qualify in the seventh position.

Senior Hannah Burvill qualified for the ‘B’ final in the 100-free, freshman Aleksandra Olesiak made it into the ‘C’ final of the 200-breast.

Junior Kelsey Drake got into the ‘B’ final in the 200-fly with a time of 1:57.84 and then swam a 1:58.54 in the scoring session.

Drake wasn’t the only Hawkeye to slow down in the finals.

Only Olesiak improved on her preliminary time for Iowa on day four, swimming a 2:14.46 in the first race of her day and dropping to a 2:13.92 in the primetime session.

Head coach Marc Long said that the sheer amount of swimming over the four days of competition could be to blame.

“There are a lot of factors for that,” Long said. “As you get it toward the end of the meet, it depends on what the load is you had up front, maybe how many relays you’ve been on.”

Long pointed out that being fresh was the reason why Drake swam a 200-fly time trial on Wednesday night.

After the conclusion of the events on night one of the championships, Drake hopped in the water with Indiana’s Carla Gildersleeve. The Iowa standout beat out her Hoosier opponent by .14 seconds and set the new Hawkeye record of 155.89 in the process.

That time will most likely qualify her for the NCAA meet. Last season, a time of 1:56.2 earned a spot in the NCAA Championships. Drake’s swim bested her previous school record of 1:57.87.

The junior star was honored later in the meet as Iowa’s recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.

At the conclusion of Saturday’s final events the Hawkeyes’ total of 430 points was the highest mark in the Big Ten Championships for Iowa since the scoring system changed in 2016.

“We’re happy with that but not satisfied by any means,” Long said. “Ultimately we want to get as many people in those ‘A’ finals and bring them down to NCAAs, that’s where you want to be.”

The women’s NCAA meet begins on Mar. 18 in Athens, Georgia.

The Big Ten teams will stick around Iowa City on Sunday for a day of long course meter time trials with an opportunity to qualify for the United States Olympic trials.

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