The Iowa State (3-2, 1-0 Big 12) swimmers and divers will be competing at different venues this weekend.
The divers will be competing from Thursday to Saturday against Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri State, Grand Canyon, South Dakota, Southern Methodist, Purdue, Nebraska, Omaha, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Northern Iowa and Kansas in Iowa City for the Iowa Invitational.
The swim team will be pitted up against Kansas, Omaha, North Texas, Arkansas Little Rock and Northern Iowa in Topeka for the Kansas Classic from Friday to Sunday. Last year, the Cyclones finished third at the Kansas Classic, but this year they are hungry for more.
“Our whole season is geared around the Big 12 Championships so seeing the competition this weekend will give us a great judgment of where we are at as a team,” said diver Dana Liva.
The divers have been battling off some injuries recently, so being healthy and getting back to full strength is a top priority for them.
“Making our dives count in this meet is crucial because the swimmers aren’t there to make up for the points if we have an off night,” Liva said.
The divers will be competing in platform diving events for the first time this season. Liva received First Team All-Big 12 in the platform last year.
However, the focus for swimmers this weekend is centered around relays.
“The difference from first place to second place is seven points for relays," said senior Evan Hundley. "We are trying to strengthen our relays and cut our times to gain points on the other teams there.”
Nonetheless, the swimmers are going up against some formidable opponents. Kansas beat Nebraska, a team the Cyclones lost to last week.
“It’ll be great for our team to swim against some tough competition in preparation for the Big 12 Championships," said coach Duane Sorenson. "It is going to push them to their limits in their events because they know they need to be on their A-game every time they step foot in the pool.”
This weekend differs from a normal meet for the swimmers in the sense that they can compete in up to four events instead of three. Therefore, the swimmers are able to try some events they might not typically compete in, and it allows for experimentation as to where everyone fits best together.
There will also be six different sections of swimming over the weekend compared to a typical dual meet that only goes on for a few hours.
"It will be interesting to see how our freshmen handle their first championship-style meet,” Sorenson said.
However, the main challenges for the Cyclone swimmers this weekend will be staying fresh and finishing races.
“In practice, we’ve been focusing on finishing out every set," Sorenson said. "When you get tired, it can be easy to let up a bit. In the past, our team has had lots of races decided by tenths of a second so finishing races this weekend is key."