Hawkeye swim and dive’s Mallory Jump reflects on up-and-down 2020-21 season

Mallory Jump qualified for the 2020-21 NCAA Championships and broke Iowa’s school record in the 100-fly on three separate occasions.

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Mallory Jump poses for a portrait. (Contributed by Rebecca Ball)

Becca Ball


Mallory Jump, a sophomore swimmer at the University of Iowa, faced many challenges throughout the 2020-21 swimming season.

The St. Charles, Illinois, native started her career at Purdue in 2019-20. Purdue didn’t feel like home to her, however, so she transferred to Iowa.

Then, the UI cut Jump’s program.

On Aug. 21, UI Athletics Director Gary Barta and President Bruce Harreld announced that Iowa women’s swim and dive would be discontinued at the end of the 2020-21 academic year to help UI Athletics make up for financial losses it faced because of COVID-19.

Iowa men’s swim and dive, men’s gymnastics, and men’s tennis were also announced among programs to be cut at the end of the 2020-21 school year.

Despite the setbacks, Jump set a goal for herself at the beginning of the season: Break the UI record in the 100-fly.

“Having a positive mindset is a huge part of swimming,” Jump said. “If you’re going to go in with a negative mindset, it is really hard to race off negative thoughts.”

During the 2020-21 season, Jump broke Iowa’s 100-fly record on three different occasions.

Now former Iowa swim and dive coach Marc Long, who coached Jump and the Hawkeyes during the 2020-21 season but declined to return to Iowa in 2021-22, commended the mental fortitude Jump had throughout last season.

“You can only control what you can control,” Long said. “But she worked through it and was able to qualify for the NCAAs.”

Jump qualified for the 2020-21 NCAA Championships in both the 200-fly and the 100-fly. Jump swam times of 1:59.09 and 52.30 in the 100-fly and the 200-fly, respectively.

Hawkeye freshman Alyssa Graves, who also qualified for the 2020-21 NCAA Championships, roomed with Jump — witnessing her overwhelmingly positive demeanor firsthand.

“She goes in having a positive mindset and knowing that she’s trained for this and she can do it,” Graves said. “She was really happy about [breaking the 100-fly record] because she knew that once she did that and she went that time, she had like a chance at making NCAAs.”

When the UI announced that its women’s swim and dive program would be discontinued at the end of the 2020-21 academic year, Jump was faced with another difficult decision: Give up swimming or transfer for the second time in as many years.

RELATED: Long reflects on Iowa swimming and diving coaching career

Mallory Jump huddles with teammates. (Contributed by Rebecca Ball)

Ultimately, Jump decided to transfer for the second-straight year.

On Feb. 15, the UI reinstated its women’s swim and dive program in perpetuity after a months-long legal battle with four Hawkeye women’s swimmers — Sage Ohlensehlen, Christina Kaufman, Alexa Puccini, and Kelsey Drake.

Nevertheless, Jump still intends to leave Iowa at the end of the school year.

“I always just assumed that I was gonna stay here and if that meant that I had to quit swimming, I would,” Jump said. “But I think, as the season went on, I realized that Iowa gave me the opportunity to swim faster times — it gave me the opportunity to make NCAAs. So, because of that, I do want to continue my swimming career and take it somewhere else.”

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