Depleted Iowa women’s swim and dive headed to Big Ten Championships

The event is the first of the postseason for the 0-7 Hawkeyes.


Jenna Galligan

An Iowa diver competes during a meet against the University of Northern Iowa at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. The Panthers defeated the Hawkeyes 159-133.

Chase Szewc, Sports Reporter

Iowa women’s swim and dive will travel to Madison, Wisconsin, for the 2022 Big Ten Conference Championships this week. The Hawkeyes will be competing in America’s Dairyland from Wednesday to Saturday.

Iowa enters the postseason with an 0-7 regular season record.

The Hawkeyes’ poor team performance is a product of their small roster. Iowa has just 13 athletes on its active roster — down from the 24 it had in 2020-21.

Many of the Hawkeyes’ Big Ten contemporaries boast squads of 30 or more.

Iowa’s roster is small because several Hawkeye swimmers and divers transferred after the 2020-21 season. Iowa athletics was going to discontinue its women’s swim and dive program at the end of last year.

Iowa swim and dive was fully reinstated following a Title IX lawsuit four ex-Hawkeye women’s swimmers filed against the UI, its athletics director Gary Barta, and its former President Bruce Harreld.

Iowa fully reinstated its women’s swim and dive team on Feb. 15, 2021, leaving the Hawkeyes little time to beef up their roster.

RELATED: Iowa women’s swim and dive falls short in tri-meet

Despite the hardships his team has faced over the last year, Iowa head coach Nathan Mundt still has high expectations for this week’s Big Ten Championships.

“Our expectations are that we want to see our peak performance of the season for both swimmers and divers,” Mundt said. “Our divers will then, of course, go on to the NCAA zone diving championships a couple weeks after [the Big Ten Championships] to compete for the right to go to NCAAs.

“Our swimmers, especially, get the opportunity to, like I said, be at their best [at the Big Ten Championships],” Mundt added. “That’s our goal, to be at our best that we have been all season. And go in there and enjoy the opportunity to compete with some great competition.”

Mundt has seen his team become a tight-knit group throughout the season, embracing challenges as they come.

“We’ve seen a lot of determination, a lot of togetherness from our team,” Mundt said. “Knowing that we have a small roster this year, they’ve been able to keep their focus and really enjoy the opportunity to compete every time they’ve had the time to race or dive.”

One of the cornerstones of Mundt’s squad is senior Sam Tamborski. The diver could return to the UI in 2022-23. But, in an interview with The Daily Iowan, Tamborski said she will forgo her final season of collegiate eligibility.

Though they likely won’t be competing for Big Ten and national championships this postseason, Tamborki is still proud of what the Hawkeyes have accomplished during her final year in the Black and Gold.

“I think what surprised me the most is like the amount of positivity that we all have and willingness to compete even though we know that we have a smaller team,” Tamborski said. “It’s just really encouraging that everyone wants to continue to do well and fight for this team, even though it’s small.”

Mundt believes Tamborksi has played a pivotal role in establishing the team culture the Hawkeyes have adopted this season and want to embrace going forward.

“Sam’s just a competitor and she’s determined to be better than ever before,” Mundt said. “I think she really embraces the opportunity to compete . . . Sam has never shied away from competition and works really hard throughout the season. She provides us great leadership with that as well as with her attitude. So, I’m excited to see her compete, not only at Big Tens, but also at the zone championships. Hopefully [she’ll] qualify for [NCAA] championships yet again.”

The 2022 Big Ten Women’s Swim and Dive Championships will begin Wednesday at 5 p.m. with the 200-meter medley relay.


Facebook Comments