Iowa swimming downed by Nebraska in home opener

The Cornhuskers defeated the Hawkeyes, 175-123, at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center on Friday.


Lilly Stence

Swimmers from Iowa and Nebraska get ready on the blocks before the start of a race. The Cornhuskers defeated the Hawkeyes, 175-123, on October 21, at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center in Iowa City, Iowa.

Chris Werner, Assistant Sports Editor

The Iowa swimming and diving team was defeated by the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 175-123, on Friday night at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. 

Iowa dropped to 1-1 on the season while Nebraska improved to 4-1 on the year. 

Second-year Iowa head coach Nathan Mundt, however, said Friday was a step in the right direction for his team.

“Came up a little short, but I would say that, overall, we had some great performances, gritty performances from some individuals that were in events that were back-to-back-to back a short amount of time,” Mundt said after the dual. “Learned a lot about our young team.”

His squad of 21 athletes — up from just 13 a year ago — tallied six individual wins on the night.

Four of those victories came courtesy of senior Kennedy Gilbertson and sophomore Makayla Hughbanks, who each notched two golds apiece. 

Hughbanks, Gilbertson each get two wins

Hughbanks, from Bettendorf, Iowa, posted personal bests in both diving events. 

During the 1-meter springboard, she totaled 288.15. On the 3-meter springboard, she scored 301.25.  Hughbanks bested her previous marks by roughly 16 and 11 points, respectively.

The sophomore’s previous career best on the 3-meter won her the competition when Iowa beat UNI in Cedar Falls on Oct. 7.

“I really liked how I stayed calm throughout the whole meet,” Hughbanks said Friday. “I thought that I really pulled myself together. At UNI, I got a little stressed out and I remembered that. I also am very happy with my confidence on the board. I thought that I attacked everything and never held back.”

Gilbertson won the 50-free and the 100-back with times of 24.09 and 55.44, respectively.  The Plover, Wisconsin, native won the 100-back for the second straight dual.

“I think today, I did a really good job keeping the competitive atmosphere going,” Gilbertson said. “I had a lot of events and a quick turnaround, which is something we trained for, so I’m super glad that [assistant coach Mona Groteguth] and [head coach Nathan Mundt] have really implemented that this year. We’ve been doing a lot of stuff off the blocks, like over and over again. So I feel like that really helped my performance going into today.”

Gilbertson’s two wins came in the fourth and seventh events of the night, no more than 10 minutes apart. 

Hawkeyes happy to be home

Friday’s meet marked the Hawkeyes’ home opener. The showdown with the Huskers also served as Iowa’s pink meet that raises awareness for breast cancer. 

At the Hawkeyes’ only home meet during October, which is breast cancer awareness month, fans were given pink pom-poms and Iowa’s athletes wore pink swim caps. 

For Mundt and the rest of the Hawkeyes, Friday’s dual held special significance because athletic trainer Brooke Casella is a breast cancer survivor. 

“It was very special,” Mundt said. “Great to get behind that cause of breast cancer awareness. It means so much to us, having our athletic trainer be a  breast cancer survivor really means something to us in particular with our team and how we can spread that awareness. To be back here in Iowa City is a lot of fun with our fans and we have one of the best facilities in the country. so it’s good to be home.”

Up next

The Hawkeyes will travel to Minnesota to take on the Golden Gophers on Nov. 11.