The last time that the Iowa State (6-3, 1-0 Big 12) and West Virginia (3-2, 1-0 Big 12) swimming and diving teams met in the pool, it came down to the wire.
“When you added up all the times of when we got touched out, we were only about a second away from winning the meet,” said head coach Duane Sorenson of last year’s 160-180 loss to the Mountaineers.
This year, the Cyclones are doing everything they can to win the races they let slip away last season.
“We have really been practicing keeping our pace consistent and finishing races in practice because a few seconds mean everything in a meet like this,” Sorenson said.
The Cyclones are coming off a three-meet win streak, in which they defeated Nebraska-Omaha (153-68), Northern Iowa (179-121) and Illinois State (191-100).
The 191 points put up against Illinois State were a season-best for Iowa State. The 15 total event victories on the day were the Cyclones' most in a meet since 2016.
Nevertheless, West Virginia is a force to be reckoned with.
"Even though we have been winning a lot of our events, we are going to have to be a lot better than we were the last couple of meets because they (West Virginia) are a whole different team than what we’ve been seeing,” Sorenson said.
Both teams defeated in-conference rival TCU earlier this season. Iowa State was able to escape victorious Nov. 2 with a score of 161-135, while West Virginia won with a score of 208-92 this past Saturday.
That said, it has been two months since the Cyclones met the Horned Frogs, and the team believes they have refined their skills.
“We have a lot of good freshmen that have developed throughout this season,” said senior Evan Hundley.
It's going to take an overall team effort from the Cyclones to defeat the Mountaineers.
“The third swimmer will be just as key as the first swimmer. It is going to take all 26 women competing to be on their A-game if we’re going to win this meet,” Sorenson said.
Luckily for Iowa State, depth has appeared to be its strong suit this year, as they have been able to put up the high-point totals as of late.
Furthermore, it's senior night for the Cyclones, which should add to the adrenaline rush of a conference match up.
“We are excited for the opportunity to prove ourselves in our own pool on senior night,” said junior Anna Andersen.
The matchup between the Cyclones and Mountaineers will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday in Beyer Hall, where both teams will attempt to emerge as a top contender in the Big 12 Conference.