Women’s swimming and diving says goodbye to senior class

One of the most accomplished groups of seniors swam at home for the last time at the women’s Big Ten Championships.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa swimmers embrace each other after the 800 Free Relay during the first session of the 2020 Big Ten Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the HTRC on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

The scene of Hannah Burvill and Allyssa Fluit standing side by side on the podium after finishing third and fourth in the 200-free on day three of this year’s women’s Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships in Iowa City won’t soon be forgotten.

The pair of finishes resulted in the highest point total for any race for the Hawkeyes over the four-day meet at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center.

Burvill and Fluit are used to leading the Black and Gold.

The duo has combined to collect nine total times in the top 10 in Iowa history for individual events. Burvill is first in the 50, 100, and 200-free, and ranks second all-time in the 500-free 100-back and third in the 200-back. Fluit is third in both the 100 and 200-free and fifth in the 500-free.

In the relays, the pair have been on an astounding 15 teams that have registered top-10 times in school history.

But their greatest contribution to the team has come from mentoring the younger swimmers.

“I feel like being a senior captain helps me leave a legacy by leading and motivating the team to do their best,” Fluit said. “We’ve come a long way since I was a freshman, and I feel like I’ve helped make that change from being good to being great as a team.”

The transformation throughout their four years as Hawkeyes was certainly on display during the final home meet of their collegiate careers.

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“They’ve been great,” head coach Marc Long said. “I think what’s cool about it is they were reminiscing about their freshman year, because really half this team is freshmen, telling them, ‘Hold on, keep trusting the process.’ And here they are here they are making ‘A’ finals and racing against these people who are American record holders and world champions and competing with them. That’s what exciting about the future. The future is bright with the freshmen because of the senior leadership.”

One part in that bright future is freshman Millie Sansome.

The Marlow, England, native already holds school records in the 100-back — which she took from Burvill at this year’s conference meet — and the 200-back. She broke her own 200-free record in the prelims on the final day of Big Tens to qualify for the ‘A’ final in that event.

A big part of Sansome’s success has been the guidance of the team’s seniors.

“They’ve just been amazing,” a tearful Sansome said following the final day of the conference meet. “They’ve been role models, and they’re some of my closest friends. They’ve just been amazing to train with; I love them all. They’ve been role models supporting you, because they’ve had those experiences before. I know they’re going to be friends with me for life. I’m very lucky.”

One of the best senior classes in the history of Iowa women’s swimming and diving may be on their way out, but they sure have left the program in a better place than they found it.

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