Iowa swimming and diving ties Vanderbilt in final home meet

The Hawkeyes’ late 400-meter freestyle win forced a 131-131 tie against the Commodores.


Vincenzo Mazza

Iowa’s Sabina Kupcova comes in fast with her finishing up the butterfly portion of the the 50 Yard during day one of the 2022 Hawkeye Invitational at the Campus recreational and Wellness Center in Iowa City on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. Kupcova came in 19th place with a time of 24:00.

Jake Olson, Sports Reporter

The Iowa swimming and diving team tied with Vanderbilt, 131-131, in the Hawkeyes’ last home meet of the season on Saturday.

The Hawkeyes’ win in the 400-meter freestyle relay sealed the tie — something that was a first for Iowa head coach Nathan Mundt.

“To come out with a tie is pretty unusual,” Mundt said. “I don’t ever remember getting a tie. But it was a lot of fun to see the team come together.”

Senior Kennedy Gilbertson, freshmen Sabina Kupcova and Scarlet Martin, and sophomore Molly Pedersen, scored 11 points on the final race of the day to tie the Commodores.

“It was a great opportunity to race at home,” senior Kennedy Gilbertson said. “I am super glad I got the opportunity to race. I thought I put on my best show this season.”

The Hawkeyes won nine total events on the day, including four in a row to start the competition. 

“It was a total team effort today,” Mundt said. “It was really special to have a couple of people step up for events that they don’t normally do. Leslie Wendel and Olivia Asay were two that made a difference. We’re getting better week by week, heading towards championship season.”

Kupcova continues to impress

Kupcova continued her impressive freshman campaign for the Hawkeyes, taking home first in the 50 and 200-meter freestyle races. 

“Personally, I think I did well, better than last week,” Kupcova said. “I have had some issues with my shoulder and I am glad I was able to perform well for the team.”

Kupcova added she is just happy to be able to contribute to the Hawkeyes right away, even as a freshman. 

“I am just proud to be a Hawkeye,” Kupcova said. “Being in this program is a really big deal. So I am glad I can be a part of the team and be a part of something special.”

Both relay teams find success

Both the 200- and 400-meter freestyle relay teams snagged first-place finishes on Saturday. Martin, Pedersen, Gilbertson, and Schrieber led the charge. The 200-meter team started off the meet by posting a 1:43:80, beating the Commodore team by one second.

The 400-meter freestyle capped off the competition for Iowa, and the Hawkeyes’ score of 3:27.09 outpaced Vanderbilt by three seconds. 

Looking ahead

The Hawkeyes have one more meet before the Big Ten Championships. Iowa will travel to Evanston, Illinois, to compete against Purdue, Northwestern, and Minnesota. 

“I am just looking forward to suiting up and seeing what the team can do,” Gilbertson said. “I am really excited to see where we can go after tapering and resting and seeing the results come through.”