AMES, Iowa – Iowa State’s top breaststroker, Imelda Wistey, rewrote history as she helped take down four records against instate rival Iowa on Dec. 13. Wistey, who broke her own record in the 100-yard breaststroke, went on to tackle the school record in the 200-yard breaststroke and the Beyer Hall pool record in the 200 medley relay alongside teammates Bre Loeschke, Kaylee Kucera, and Amanda Paulson.
200-Yard Medley Relay
With a time of 1:41.40, Loeschke, Wistey, Kucera, and Paulson broke the previous Beyer Hall pool record of 1:42.66 set by Iowa State’s Nan Liu, Jeli Nixt, Abby Glaser, and Lindsey Behrens against the Hawkeyes on Dec. 11, 2009. For her and her teammates, getting a convincing relay victory over rival Iowa was more important than claiming the pool record, according to Wistey. In fact, the breaststroker did not even realize the record had fallen until the following day.
“In the 200 medley relay, I’m so proud of the girls. We went out and beat everyone by over two seconds,” Wistey said. “I think we were the best medley relay in the field. We just did what we were supposed to do.”
On Mar. 1 of 2013, Wistey finished third in the 100-yard breaststroke at the Big 12 Conference Championships with a time of 1:01.35, the previous Iowa State school record. It only took the West Des Moines, Iowa native nine months to break her own record with a time of 1:00.46, qualifying as an NCAA Division 1 B-cut.
Wistey’s performance was also good enough to break the former Beyer Hall pool record of 1:02.87 set by Texas A&M’s Ali Atkinson in 2007.
Under the 17-year tenure of current Iowa State head swimming coach Duane Sorenson, the breaststroke has continued to be one of the top events for the program. Swimming a highly technical stroke, Wistey has put countless hours into her training since her junior year refining the details that separate her from the competition.
“I just executed my strategy in the 100, saw the board, and saw that I had dropped a whole second from my time in March,” Wistey said. “That was huge for me. It just shows that all of my work has been worth it. I was just overjoyed.”
The Cyclone standout described her last Cy-Hawk dual meet as an “emotional roller-coaster,” and the most emotional part of the night was claiming the school record in the 200-yard breaststroke.
“I have had so many struggles with the 200. People would sometimes label me as a 100 breaststroker, and I wanted to break out of that,” Wistey said. “Those emotions come out after the race, and yeah, I shed a tear or two.”
What Wistey described as “struggles” was her eighth fastest time in school history in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:18.25. Wistey’s time of 2:13.79 shattered her pervious personal best by nearly five seconds, which is almost unheard off at the college level.
“At any level in swimming, a time drop is such a happy feeling. To do that here in front of everyone was incredible,” Wistey said. “I wouldn’t have gotten the record without the hard work that I have put in.”
The record was emotional for Wistey for yet another reason, as the former school record holder in the 200-yard breaststroke was in the pool with her during the race. Senior teammate Emily Wiltsie, who was two lanes over, now holds the second fastest 200-yard breaststroke time in school history.
“I train with great breaststrokers, and the record that I broke was one of my teammate’s records,” Wistey said. “She is also a hard worker, and she pushes me in practice. I do my best because I am pushed and challenged.”
While she is willing to pat herself on the back for proving herself as the best Cyclone breaststroker in school history, the veteran plans to continue improving throughout the remainder of her final season in Ames.
“It feels like a long time ago, and now, putting it into perspective, I still have a ways to go. I still have a season to finish, and I still have room to improve,” Wistey said. “I had a great night, but it’s done, it’s passed, and I have to keep moving on. I’m not going to hold myself back for anything.”