Cyclones Prepare for Iowa
AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State swimming and diving team (3-1-1, 0-1 Big 12) will host instate foe Iowa (4-2, 2-2 Big 10) this Friday for the state’s most historic college rivalry: the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series.
This annual meeting between the Hawkeyes and the Cyclones has proven to be one of the most competitive dual meets on the schedule every year. Historically, the team who hosts the event goes on to win.
Since 2001, Iowa has fallen to the Cyclones four out their last six meetings in Ames, with Iowa State only edging the Hawks by a combined 62 points in those duals. For his team, head swimming coach Duane Sorenson says that tomorrow’s matchup is all about pride.
“Both teams are so close. If you hesitate on a turn, that can be the difference,” Sorenson said. “When you are at home, you want to protect your house. It’s our pool, so more pride is put on the line.”
ISU’s veteran head coach has led 16 years of Cyclone swimming and diving, but he knows the only thing about tomorrow’s meet worth predicting is that it will be unpredictable.
“There are going to be about 12 events that can be swing events, where they can touch us out or we can touch them out,” Sorenson said. “We’ll win events we didn’t expect to, and we’ll lose events we didn’t expect to. It always happens that way.”
With a combined record of 7-3-1, both Iowa and Iowa State are off to hot starts so far through the 2013-14 season. This year’s Cyclone squad is the first team to suffer just one loss in their first five dual meets since the 2010-11 team that started the year 5-1.
One Cyclone swimmer who has started her junior year particularly well is two-time ISU most valuable swimmer, Amanda Paulson. As the school record holder in the 50-freestyle, Paulson has 20 career first place finishes in the event.
Paulson’s only dual-meet loss in the 50-freestyle in over two years occurred last season at the University of Iowa. Then freshman, Olivia Kabacinski, outpaced Iowa State’s top swimmer with a time of 23.10, and went on to set the school record in the event with a time of 22.88 later that year.
According to Sorenson, the second and third place finishers for each team will ultimately decide the meet.
“Team depth always comes into play during a meet like this, and after their performances last weekend, they have a little more team depth,” Sorenson said. “Their second and third swimmers swam really well, so our second and third swimmers have to stand up and match their intensity and speed.”
One of Iowa State’s keys to success throughout the season so far has been newcomer Karyl Clarete. The Canadian native has emerged as the team’s top distance freestyler with four times inside of the school’s top 15 all-time bests.
On paper, the Hawkeyes hold an advantage over the Cyclones in breaststroke events, which has historically been a strong point for the Iowa State program. Clarete, who learned of the Cy-Hawk rivalry after committing to the team, will have to ward off a number of talented Hawkeye freestylers in her respective events.
“Everyone’s expectations are high just because we have had such a great year so far,” Clarete said. “I’m pretty confident that we are going to swim fast.”
For eight Cyclones, this Friday’s dual will be the last opportunity they have to race against instate rival Iowa. According to senior and Davenport, Iowa native Sarah Thompson, she and her teammates are relishing the chance to perform on a big stage.
“This is a meet where we can prove how hard we have been working by swimming against a Big 10 team and coming out on top,” Thompson said. “My teammates are giving it their all this week in practice, and we are ready for them.”
The Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series begins at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 12 in the Beyer Hall Pool.