By Anna Kayser
The long-awaited swimming and diving championship season begins today as the Iowa women face off against Big Ten rivals in the conference meet.
Competition begins at 6 p.m. today in Columbus, Ohio, with the 200-medley relay and the 800-free relay finals.
Each day, the preliminary round will begin at 11 a.m., with the finals starting at 6 p.m. Events without preliminary rounds will be added onto either session.
The meet will conclude on Saturday following the 400-free relay.
“This is a fun time right now for the group; they’ve worked so hard, and they’re still preparing, but it’s a really good vibe right now,” head coach Marc Long said.
Six Hawkeyes have recorded NCAA standards in the pool, while four divers made the list.
Hannah Burvill recorded standards in the 100 free (49.10), 200 free (1:45.82), 500 free (4:44.40), and the 100 back (53.93). Jo Jekel also holds a standard in the 100 back with a 54.41, and Meghan Lavelle joined the list with a 54.43. Lavelle also touched in at 1:57.90.
Shea Hoyt recorded a 1:02.37 in the 100 breast. Kelsey Drake set standards in the 200 fly (1:59.45), the 200 individual medley (2:01.12) and the 100 fly (53.82). Mekenna Scheitlin also recorded a standard in the 100 fly with a 54.48.
“There’s a variety of areas — different events — that we’re excited to see,” Long said. “The team is developing so much it’s hard to pinpoint an event here or there. Some are pretty locked into their events, some might switch a little bit depending on how things go.
In the diving well, Jayah Mathews (296.40), Thelma Strandberg (293.95), Jacintha Thomas (307.60) and Morgan Rafferty (288.70) set NCAA standards in the 1-meter dive competition. Mathews (315.60) and Thomas (304.00) made the list in the 3-meter. On the platform, Strandberg recorded a 248.20.
As for training, the divers are ready to go.
“The real work is done the start of the season all the way up till the end of our winter training,” diving coach Todd Waikel said. “Right now, we’re just kind of fine-tuning stuff and getting dialed in. We’re really not doing anything different than that; everything’s already been done.”
Confidence is big in the pool, and through the training midseason, it has helped both the physical and mental aspects of the game.
“I’d say we’re pretty confident,” Burvill said. “We’ve done a hard set of training, we’ve had a really hard training camp. Now we’ve come back here, and we’ve started to rest, so I feel like both sides feel strong.”
A big component of the women’s team is how close they have become over the course of the season.
The team has gelled to support each individual event, which bodes well heading into its biggest test of the season.
“I’m excited to see what we can do all together,” Burvill said. “The team dynamic is pretty good at the moment. We’ve come together a lot more at the meets and started doing exercises where we can relax a lot more and not create such a stressful, tense environment.”