Iowa swim and dive notebook | Hawkeyes preparing to host Vanderbilt

Iowa will welcome the Commodores for its last home meet of the season.


Dimia Burrell

Iowa backstroke swimmer Kennedy Gilbertson competes during a swim meet between Iowa and Minnesota at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center on Friday Oct. 8, 2021. The Gophers defeated The Hawkeyes 156-104.

Jake Olson, Sports Reporter

The Iowa swim and dive team will host Vanderbilt on Saturday at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. The Hawkeyes’ final home meet of the season will begin at 11 a.m.

Scouting the opponent 

Vanderbilt comes into the event boasting a 4-3 record in the Southeastern Conference. The Commodores have wins against Tulane, North Florida, Georgia Southern, and Richmond.

Saturday’s dual with Iowa will be the first competition for Vanderbilt since the Commodores finished third at the Gamecock Invitational from Nov. 16-18 in Columbia, South Carolina.

“They have some great swimmers as well, being from the SEC,” Iowa head coach Nathan Mundt said. “It should be really fun to see some different competition and race at a high level.”

Last time out

Iowa fell to the Illinois Fighting Illini, 216-137, on Jan. 13-14. Senior Kennedy Gilbertson and freshman Scarlet Martin both secured first-place finishes on the first day of competition. Gilbertson swam to gold in the 100-yard back while Martin won it in the 100-yard fly.

Sophomore Makayla Hughbanks and the rest of the divers set multiple career bests. Hughbanks placed first with a new personal record score of 311.55 in the one-meter competition.

Junior Sarah Ballard scored 319.15, and freshman Geneva Pauly earned 292.95 to place second and third respectively. Both athletes also set career bests.

“We saw some great racing,” Mundt said. “Saw a lot of great performances from our team. A lot of resiliency, a lot of tough mindsets. Just getting ourselves ready for more multiple-day competitions coming up.”

Honoring seniors

Along with competing against Illinois, the Iowa swim and dive program honored its two seniors — Kennedy Gilbertson and Aleksandra Olesiak — and TCU graduate transfer Sheridan Schrieber for Senior Day.

“It was great to recognize the seniors that have done a lot for our program,” Mundt said. “They have been some great leaders throughout some trying times. It was great to see them contribute at such a high level, not only that meet but all year long.”

Both Gilbertson and Olesiak were part of the program for all four years and were sophomores when the women’s swim and dive team was temporarily shut down amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Both athletes were sophomores after the temporary termination of the program.

“It is such a grateful opportunity that I have been given,” Gilbertson said. “I was just so glad that I was able to make it to senior year and that the program is still here and still going. I am super proud of the teammates I have had and the culture we have built.”