Iowa State’s swimming and diving team will travel to Austin, Texas, for the upcoming Big 12 Championship.
It is time to decide who is the final winner of the conference, even though Texas is far ahead of the rest of the pack.
For the Cyclones, defeating the rest of teams is a huge success.
Senior Laura Miksch has attended the Big 12 Championship three times. The rich experience allows her to face challenges with a calm mindset.
“I think the biggest challenges for the whole team is going to be staying, presenting and focusing on each session all the time,” Miksch said. “Every race we have competitive opponents, West Virginia, TCU and other teams.”
Certainly, Miksch is looking forward to her last swimming competition.
“I am nailing every practice and working hard,” Miksch said. “Because it is the last opportunity that I can have fun.”
At last year’s meet, swim and dive finished in third place at the Big 12 Championship. Junior Haley Ruegemer had a stellar performance in Austin, especially for the distance freestyle.
In addition to distance freestyle, Ruegemer will focus on individual medley this year.
For practicing both events, she had to balance her training time.
“I think it is really a compliment to each other,” Ruegemer said. “Distance training really helps me and my full range IM have 100 freestyle at the end. I have a straight advantage because of my distance training.”
Ruegemer said she believes the biggest challenge is keeping focused on her own race without being distracted.
When swimmers around her are super powerful and have diverse swimming styles, Ruegemer must keep her own tempo and focus on individual races.
“Last year I had nice meets and a nice season,” Ruegemer said. “I’d really like to stand out more than what I did last year, hopefully improving my times.”
Traditionally, swimming and diving head coach Duane Sorenson looks into the Big 12 Championship as a whole and still aims at second place, the best rank they had achieved.
Compared to the previous seasons, the whole performance in regular season meets for Iowa State has not been so satisfying.
This younger team needs more training to improve their times on paper.
Sorenson encourages the freshmen to learn more from classes from the competition.
“We’ve got a number of transfers. This is their first time at Big 12 Championships,” Sorenson said. “I would say over half the team is all basically rookies to this meet, but we just gotta go out there and race.”