Dec. 6, 2012
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 -- When Olivia Kabacinski joined the University of Iowa women's swimming and diving team in August, she set her sights on making an immediate impact for the Hawkeyes.
After breaking the school record in the 50 free, posting two NCAA "B" cut times and being a top performer in four Hawkeye events, it's safe to say she has done just that.
Kabacinski opened her career with two first place finishes in the dual victory over Michigan State. Her 50 free time of 23.23 broke a McCaffree Pool record of 23.29 that had stood since 1994. The LaPorte, Ind., native followed up her performance with a 50 free victory in the dual at 12th-ranked Minnesota.
Last weekend at the Hawkeye Invitational, Kabacinski took her performance to another level. She swam in nine events over the three-day competition, finishing in the top six in every race. In the 50 free, Kabacinski became the first UI swimmer to break the 23 second mark, posting a time of 22.88 to down Stacey Wertz's previous record of 23.08, a mark that had stood since 2000.
"I was really excited (when I broke the record)," said Kabacinski. "I honestly didn't know what the record was. When the team told me I got it, I thought it was really cool. I felt proud to have it announced over the loud speaker for all the teams (to hear). It was an accomplishment I will always remember."
"I feel like if I focus too much on them then I think about my races too much. I am more of a swimmer that it is natural for me to go out and race and have a good time competing and the fast times will come."
UI freshman Olivia Kabacinski
Along with her school record, Kabacinski has already posted the second best 200 free (1:48.32) and 200 breast (1:02.30) and the third fastest 100 free (50.43) times. She also has top-four times as a part of all five relays.
Even with her ascension up the Hawkeye record time charts, Kabacinski isn't about to spend any time identifying times she's trying to surpass.
"I like not knowing," said Kabacinski. "I feel like if I focus too much on them then I think about my races too much. I am more of a swimmer that it is natural for me to go out and race and have a good time competing and the fast times will come."
Kabacinski's racing views line up with those of the Hawkeye program. Swim fast and win races, and the times will follow.
"I have always been a great racer, and I was always going to take each race one race at a time," she said. "That's one of the good qualities about my swimming. I am able to put times aside and go out there, compete and go for the race. I know the times will then follow."
While Kabacinski has already achieved one of her goals for her freshman season, she is now setting her sights on a much broader spectrum.
"My goals for the season were pretty broad," said Kabacinski. "I don't really have to reassess, but I am now looking at the bigger picture toward Big Ten and NCAA Championships."
The Hawkeyes return to action Friday, hosting Iowa State in an Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series matchup at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center Pool. The dual is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. (CT).