Feb. 18, 2013
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The pieces are falling into place for the University of Iowa women's swimming and diving team. Depth has been accumulated, and the Hawkeyes are eyeing a move up the Big Ten ladder.
"We want to be moving up and be contending for titles," said UI head coach Marc Long. "I know the women are excited, and it will be an exciting week of racing."
Iowa has finished ninth at the Big Ten Championships in each of the past five seasons. In 2012, the Hawkeyes began showing signs for making a move.
Iowa finished the meet at the Campus and Recreation Center Pool in Iowa City with 209 points -- the most for the program since 2005. During the previous four years, the Hawkeyes averaged 138.9 points.
"The goal is to get back into a scoring position at night and let the chips fall where they are. We're going in with a hungry attitude and a racing mentality. We're going to control what we can control, and we're going to step up and race the best as we can."
UI head coach Marc Long
Six individuals advanced to the "A" final in five events. Becky Stoughton was a finalist in three events -- 500 free, 400-IM and 1,650 free -- where she collected a third-place finish in the 500. She finished with 44 individual points en route to being named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
This season, Iowa has competitors among the top-16 in nine individual events leading up to the championship. The Hawkeyes have two swimmers -- junior Karolina Wartalowicz and freshman Olivia Kabacinski -- among the top-12 in the 100 breast.
"The goal is to get back into a scoring position at night and let the chips fall where they are," said Long. "We're going in with a hungry attitude and a racing mentality. We're going to control what we can control, and we're going to step up and race the best as we can."
Kabacinski is one of the newcomers whose main focus is "coming back" for the evening session.
If midseason times are any indication, Kabacinski will make good on that goal. She currently ranks seventh in the Big Ten in the 50 free (22.88), ninth in the 100 breast (1:02.30), and 14th in the 200 free (1:48.32). She also has been a key component to all five of the Hawkeye relays.
"Coming back for a second swim has been a main focus for us all season," said Kabacinski. "Getting second swims is how you score points, and that's how we're going to move up in the Big Tens. Hopefully we'll be able to step up and make it back to the "A" final."
In her first go-round, Kabacinski is keeping her goals in check; her main focus is on competing and setting personal bests.
"I want to keep things simple, and go for best times and see where I place," she said. "I feel ready for this meet. Our taper has been good, and I feel that next weekend I am going to hit it really well.
"Being there and representing the Hawkeyes is going to be a really awesome experience."
The 2013 Big Ten Championships will be held Feb. 20-23 at the University Aquatic Center in Minneapolis. The championship begins with event finals Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Prelims are then scheduled for 11 a.m. (CT) Thursday through Saturday followed by event finals at 6:30 p.m.
The University of Minnesota will stream the event for free on gophersports.com.