Iowa swim and dive program continuing to build

Head coach Nathan Mundt and recruiting coordinator Mona Groteguth increased the roster from 13 athletes in 2021-22 to 21 this season.


Hannah Kinson

Iowa’s Aleksandra Olesiak competes in the 200 Breaststroke during a swim meet at the CRWC between Iowa and Rutgers on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. Olesiak finished first with a time of 2:18.85.

Jake Olson, Sports Reporter

After the Iowa women’s swimming and diving team increased its roster size from 13 athletes in 2021-22 to 21 this season, the Hawkeyes are expecting better results than the 0-7 record they compiled last year.

At 1-1 through the first two duals of the season, head coach Nathan Mundt’s squad is heading in the right direction.

While the Hawkeyes had just one freshman on last season’s roster — diver Makayla Hughbanks, from Bettendorf, Iowa — this year’s list features 11 first-years and three transfers.

“It has been a process and a lot of hard work building the team up from a year ago,” Mundt said. “We have been fortunate to have 14 newcomers from really all over the world.”

Following the 2020-2021 season, Iowa hired Mona Groteguth as the new assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. In just two seasons, Groteguth and Mundt have attracted freshman talent from six different states and three different countries.

This year’s transfers — Alix O’Brien, Molly Pedersen, and Sheridan Schreiber — last swam at Denison, Penn State, and TCU, respectively.

“We are very pleased with the progress we are making even after the first season into the second year with this new coaching staff and new team,” Mundt said. “It has been a lot of fun, and we are excited about our future.”

Swimmer Aleksandra Olesiak, who is one of only two seniors on this year’s roster, said the team has already shown improvement in its first two duals of 2022-23.

“I think the season started off really well,” Olesiak said. “We started off with a big win [against UNI] coming off of last year, where we lost by a few points but had very few swimmers.”

That win, a 197-102 victory over the Panthers in Cedar Falls on Oct.7, was Iowa’s first victory since Jan. 16, 2021.

The Hawkeyes posted a total of 13 individual wins on the day, including Oleksiak gold in the 200-breast.

“The energy was high, and it was super exciting,” Olesiak said. “We won almost every single event, and it was just a complete 360 from last year.”

In their second competition of the season, the Hawkeyes fell to Big Ten opponent Nebraska, 175-123, but Mundt said his team continued to improve.

“We were fortunate to get the first win of the season up at UNI and were very competitive against another Big Ten opponent in Nebraska,” Mundt said. “A ton of improvement so far in the early part of the season. We have had a couple of injuries we think [once those athletes recover we will] be even more competitive going forward this season and well into the future.”

Following the Nebraska meet, Kennedy Gilbertson, Iowa’s other senior, said this season’s team dynamic is completely different than a year ago.

“I think that this year is just a brand new experience …We have a lot of fast girls and a lot of girls that just want to swim they want to get better,” Gilbertson said. “ … At practice. We have two people per lane, three people per lane. It’s nice to have people like keep cheering you on.

“We all have the same goal, every time we get in the water, we just want to perform our best, and outside of the pool, we’re all supportive. It’s just such a different atmosphere than last year.”

The Hawkeyes will be in action again on Nov. 11 against Minnesota on the road. After that one-day competition, Iowa will be off until Dec. 1-3, when Iowa will host the Hawkeye Invitational.