Cyclones Host Illinois in First Dual of 2014
AMES, Iowa – Iowa State (3-2-1, 0-1 Big 12) returns to the Beyer Hall pool for just their third home meet of the 2013-14 season to host Illinois (5-2-1, 1-1 B1G) on Friday. The showdown between the Cyclones and the Fighting Illini will be just the fifth time the two teams have met since the 2000-01 season.
Fresh off their winter training trips, the Cyclones will be competing in their first dual-meet event in just over one month when they fell to instate rival Iowa at home. After a late rally resulted in a 150-150 tie against Rutgers a week ago for Illinois at the ARC Pool, the Fighting Illini will be looking for their sixth win of the season in Ames, Iowa.
The Iowa State swimming squad returned to Ames, Iowa from their winter training trip in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. on Jan. 11.
“We had a lot of two-a-days, so it was really about making sure we got a lot of good yards in and focusing on what we need to focus on now that it’s getting down to crunch time with conference around the corner,” sophomore Marissa Engel said. “It’s really about the little things and making sure you’re doing them right so that we don’t have to worry about that at the end of the season.”
In Iowa State’s last matchup with the Fighting Illini, the Cyclones fell on the road despite a number of strong individual performances. Then sophomore Amanda Paulson claimed the ARC Pool record in the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.51, while current school record holder in the 100 breaststroke, Imelda Wistey, took first in her signature event with a time of 1:05.00.
In anticipation of a tight competition, Engel believes that a different outcome can result from home pool advantage.
“Last year I was happy with my swims, but as a team we weren’t as happy with what we could have done,” Engel said. “I am excited for it to be at home this year because I think that we are going to do a lot better, and the girls know that it’s going to be a close meet.”
According to Engel, the key to success for Iowa State is a quick start to the meet. If the Cyclones are able to claim the 200 medley relay, the backstroke specialist believes that Iowa State can carry momentum throughout the afternoon.
While both squads are led by strong senior classes, this year’s meeting might be determined by two new faces to the series. Iowa State freshman Karyl Clarete has been on an absolute tear throughout her inaugural season in the cardinal and gold, claiming a first place finish an incredible 12 times in eight different events during the team’s six dual meets.
It would appear that ISU’s freshman standout is on a collision course for Illinois’ freshman stud, Gabbie Stecker. While in high school, Stecker was a state champion in the 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle, 1000 freestyle, 1650 freestyle, and 200 butterfly. Like her counterpart Clarete, Stecker is a versatile athlete swimming in freestyle, butterfly, backstroke, and IM events for the Fighting Illini.
“It’s going to be a close meet. They are a very solid team; they have all of the events covered. They have a really good freshman in Gabbie Stecker from the Quad Cities,” Sorenson said. “I would like to see us continue racing like we did in the fall semester and really compete hard. The times will take care of themselves if we compete hard, and being in our home pool, I think we will.”
The Cyclones will host the Fighting Illini of Illinois Fri, Jan. 17 at 4 p.m. at the Beyer Hall pool of Ames, Iowa in their first dual meet of 2014.