The Iowa State swimming and diving team fell to Kansas on their last dual meet of the season before the Big 12 Championships during the two day meet Friday and Saturday.
The meet was characterized by highs and lows, with season best times, but then mistakes that head coach Duane Sorenson said became glaring against a team as good as Kansas.
Saturday's meet day opened up with Iowa State honoring their seniors that will be graduating this season by awarding the seven swimmers and two divers with large plaques that included a swimsuit and swim cap of the athletes as well as some pictures and flowers.
To make the presentation unique, Sorenson said they involve the opposing team's seniors as well by awarding them flowers. At the end of the program, they played not only the United States national anthem, but the national anthem of seniors Polina Shynkarenko, who is from Ukraine, and Ali Basel, who is from South Africa.
Sorenson said that each year on senior day, there are many emotions that go around and each senior reacts differently to the season ending and them graduating.
"It's always a special moment because like one of the parents said 'I just dropped her off at the dorm as a freshman and here she is getting ready to graduate,'" Sorenson said. "We're happy for them but sad that they're leaving."
Diving coach Jeff Warrick said he was proud of his two senior divers, Alex Aaberg and Dana Liva, to see how they had progressed and grown throughout their time at Iowa State.
"Senior day there's a lot of emotion there and having Dana and Alex," Warrick said. "We really appreciate all they have done, we still have more."
The divers once again put together a solid weekend in their performance against Kansas. In the three events they competed in, two out of the top three finishers were Iowa State divers.
Day one began with the platform dive, where freshman Jayna Misra landed in first place with a score of 217.27. Sophomore Michelle Schlossmacher Smith placed third with a score of 208.87 and Liva placed just behind in fourth with a score of 207.67.
Also on day one of the two day meet was the 1 meter dive, where Kansas diver Jiayu Chen took the top spot with a score of 301.87. Misra, Schlossmacher Smith and Liva followed behind in second, third and fifth, respectively, to close out the first day of diving.
The second day of diving consisted of the 3 meter, with Chen once again finished in first with a score of 355.72. This time, the shakeup of finishes was in the Cyclone squad. Misra again placed second, but it was Liva who placed in third and Schlossmacher Smith who took fourth. All three Cyclones score zone cuts with scores over 290 on the 3 meter.
After a successful weekend for the Cyclone divers, Warrick said he was proud of how his divers performed before the upcoming Big 12 Championships.
"I was really happy with how they did," Warrick said. "This is how you want to compete when you get to the Big 12's, they were confident, they were having fun, and that team togetherness we just need to continue what we're doing."
Big 12 Championships
Despite not winning the meet and only getting one first place finish in the swimming events, Sorenson said he is proud of his athletes because they secured multiple season best times and competed well against a solid Kansas team that will prepare them for the upcoming Big 12 Championships.
"Kansas always kind of takes it to us here and all of a sudden we go to conference and we're a lot better prepared to race," Sorenson said. "We always seem to do a lot better at the championship meet."
The Cyclones will have roughly two weeks to get ready for Big 12's, which Sorenson said will be spent not only on the physical preparation in the water but also the mental preparation and being on top of things.
"We told the team you get one shot at this, so you better be on your game," Sorenson said.
Iowa State will next prepare for the Big 12 Championships that will take place Feb. 26-29 in Morgantown, West Virginia.