By Anna Kayser
The Iowa swimming team will be out of competition until early January, giving the Hawkeyes just under a month to train for their upcoming meets.
On Dec. 16, the swimming team will travel to Florida to begin a training regimen.
“We have a great setup down there, being able to train outside,” head coach Marc Long said. “It’s a chance to get the team together, to do some outstanding training, to get out of town for just a little bit, then to come back for that final stretch.”
The training will be tough in order to build up skill and strength before the season resumes.
“It’s a little bit of wearing us down to build us up,” senior Mekenna Scheitlin said.
The women will begin competition on Jan. 5. Both the men and the women will return home Jan. 12 to face Notre Dame and Illinois.
The season will start to move quickly at that point, with weekly meets beginning in January.
“Our peak meets are in February, and that comes very quickly,” Long said. “We’ll be training hard, getting better where we need to, working on the things that we need to. Right when we get back to campus, time goes pretty quickly with a lot of competition, so this time is important to prepare for those competitions.”
Following the Minnesota Jean Freeman Invitational, both the men and women are focusing on the technical parts of their swimming.
Starts, turns, and other facets of the sport are the parts that will ultimately make up the larger races.
“I think after the meet last weekend we’ve got to work on our relay exchanges,” junior Jack Smith said. “But to be honest, we’ve been doing really well this year, the team as a whole. Just keep doing what we’re doing and getting better, keep working hard.”
As always, a big goal with training is to improve times, something the Hawkeyes haven’t had difficulty with yet this season.
During the invitational, many swimmers recorded either season or career bests in both individual and relay events.
A lot of confidence stems from faster times that can carry through to the end of the season.
“A lot of people had great swims; it’s really motivating, too, to finish off the season with even faster swims,” freshman Kelsey Drake said.
After beating two ranked teams in the first weeks of competition and battling with Minnesota yet again this past weekend, the men feel as if they are in a good spot going into the main part of the season. The women’s team is getting close, too, taking points wherever the Hawkeyes can.
Following last weekend’s meet, the Hawkeyes have a lot to be proud of.
“It’s just exciting looking back at last year and now this year, everyone’s a lot faster, and that can only mean one thing really,” Smith said. “So hopefully — well not hopefully — we will get better at Big Tens and hopefully move up in the rankings.”