As the first meet of the year approaches for the Iowa State swimming and diving team, coaches and players alike are looking ahead to the upcoming season.
The first meet for the Cyclones is the Cardinal and Gold meet at 7 p.m. Friday at the Beyer Pool. The meet is a competition between the team as a scrimmage, but it will be an indicator of what to expect for the new season.
Coach Duane Sorenson said the team trained well last year but didn’t finish the way it could have.
“Last year we had a good dual meet season and swam really well, we just had a bad session at the Big 12 Championship,” Sorenson said. “This season I think our team is much more determined. We’re trying to inspire each other to greatness.”
Sorenson said he’s hoping each swimmer will set at least one personal best and drop their times. For the divers, he hopes they will not only learn new dives, but also perfect the dives they already have done well.
“We are trying to hold everyone accountable,” Sorenson said on how they are training for the new season. “They can’t take the easy way out, it’s hundreths of a second, tenths of a second that separates winning and losing.”
The seniors are what — and who — sets the tone for the season, Sorenson said. He said they are the ones who can make the season great or just okay, and the ones who can get the team motivated.
Senior distance freestyle swimmer Keely Soellner and senior butterfly and individual medley swimmer Kami Pankratz say they are both excited for the upcoming season.
“For the team, we want to place better at Big 12’s than last year,” Pankratz said. “Individually, I want to place high at conference and in-season meets.”
Soellner and Pankratz both said they want to swim faster than last year, but they also just want to have fun and work together with the team.
“I feel like this team has more depth than the past,” Soellner said. “I’m excited to see how our team does as a whole.”
Now that the season is underway, practices and training are more of a commitment. Soellner and Pankratz said they have 20 hours a week of practicing and working out. They said even though it’s hard to get back into the rhythm of 20 hours, it’s needed to be successful and good.
The two seniors also said they think this season will be different from years past.
“We have a lot to prove from last season,” Pankratz said. “Everyone is super motivated and on the same page with training.”
As for the teams to beat this year, Sorenson said it’s Texas every year, followed by Kansas.
“If we’re on, we can compete with Kansas,” Sorenson said. “If we’re an okay team, then it’s West Virginia, TCU and us that are duking it out for the third place. We’ve been pretty consistent being in the top three.”