Iowa women’s swimming falls in season-opener

The Hawkeyes suffered their first-ever loss in program history to Northern Iowa Friday night.


Jenna Galligan

Iowa’s Kennedy Gilbertson competes in the 200 yard freestyle during a swim meet against the University of Northern Iowa at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. Gilbertson won the event with a time of 1:53.92. The Panthers defeated the Hawkeyes, 159-133.

Chase Szewc, Sports Reporter

Junior swimmer Aleksandra Olesiak paced the Hawkeyes in their season-opener Friday night, winning three events as Iowa fell to Northern Iowa, 159-133.

Olesiak, from Colorado Springs, Colorado, opened the meet with a victory in the 100-meter breaststroke, finishing in 1 minute and 5.66 seconds. Soon after, Olesiak won the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:24.01, and ended the meet with a victory in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:10.02.

“I definitely put everything I had into practice and outside of the pool as well. Focusing on recovering after every practice and making sure I’m well rested,” Oleskia said. “There are definitely things I can improve on, but it’s been a major improvement and I’ve been working on different things… and I know that later on they will pay off.”

Hawkeye head coach Nathan Mundt commended the junior’s performance in Iowa’s season-opener.

“It’s exactly what we thought she could do,” Mundt said. “Get out and be able to take charge of her races early, be able to execute and finish those races like we thought… It’s great to see her do that tonight for her first opportunity to race.”

Junior Kennedy Gilbertson took home victories in both the 100-meter and 200-meter freestyle.

The 200-meter freestyle came down to the final second between Gilbertson and the Panthers’ Hallory Dominick, and Gilbertson took the victory with an official time of 1:53.92. 

Junior Anna Brooker helped add two event wins for the Hawkeyes in both the 500 meter freestyle as well as the 1,000 meter freestyle in the evening.

“With everything that happened this past year, these women really fought hard tonight and represented their team very well,” Mundt said. “They really wanted to come out and perform, and had the opportunity to do that in front of the home crowd.”


Iowa took control with some early event victories Friday night, but couldn’t keep pace with the Panthers late in the meet.

Despite strong performances from Olesiak, Gilbertson, and Brooker, the Panthers defeated the Hawkeyes.


Mundt suffered a loss in his first meet since being named Iowa women’s swim and dive head coach in May.

The first-year coach for Iowa, and former Western Illinois head coach, came to the Hawkeyes from the IFLY program in Iowa City, 

Mundt previously coached the Hawkeyes from 2008-16 as a recruiting coordinator and assistant coach.


Iowa held an 11-0 all-time record over Northern Iowa going into the meet Friday, dating back to January 21, 2005. 

The Panthers took home their first-ever win over the Hawkeyes, while also scoring the highest total team points in head-to-head matchup history against Iowa.


The Hawkeyes are back at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center on Oct. 8 against Minnesota for their Big Ten opener.

Iowa has not had an 0-2 start to the season since 2007-08.

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