Dec. 6, 2013
Editor's note: 24 Hawkeyes to Watch is a feature released Thursday, Aug. 8, highlighting one athlete from each of the 24 intercollegiate sports offered by the University of Iowa. More than 700 talented student-athletes are currently busy preparing for the 2013-14 athletics year at the UI. Hawkeyesports.com will introduce you to 24 Hawkeyes who, for one reason or another, are poised to play a prominent role in the intercollegiate athletics program at the UI in the coming year.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Lindsay Seemann boasts an Olympic resume, but she is viewed as just another Hawkeye on the University of Iowa women's swimming and diving team.
"We joke around a lot because my teammates forget about me being an Olympian," said Seeman, a senior from Newmarket, Ontario. "They see me every day, and know me as a person, more than as an Olympian. They weren't there when I was 15, so it's different."
Seemann started swimming as a 6-year-old when she was dragged to the pool with her older brother, and that led to her joining a local club team. Less than a decade later, she was on the grandest stage in the world, competing in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing at the age of 15 as Canada's youngest Olympian.
"It was a dream come true at 15, which for some people, it never comes around," she said. "It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and to have it that early was amazing."
The Olympics began a run for Seemann on the Canadian National Team. She swam for her country at the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships in Irvine, Calif., and won three gold medals (200-meter free, 400-IM, 400-free) at the New South Wales U18 Swimming Championships in Australia.
With all of her junior achievements, Seemann was a blue-chip recruit coming out of high school, where she ended up at the University of Arizona.
"I had a great career throughout high school," said Seemann. "I was on the National Team quite a few times and a bunch of junior teams. There was a lot of hype around it, and it led me going to the University of Arizona for two years and then here. It has been quite a ride."
After swimming two years for the Wildcats, which included a coaching switch following her freshman season, Seemann sought change. She wanted to continue at a program that would fit her both in and out of the pool.
"My second time around, I was interested in the people I would be working with, both the teammates and coaching staff," she said. "Iowa attracted me with the atmosphere and people. I wanted to be around people that I would enjoy swimming with and going about everyday life with the next few years."
UI head coach Marc Long says Seemann was the type of individual and competitor the Hawkeyes needed.
"It is unique (to get a transfer like Lindsay)," said Long. "We got to know her through the recruiting process, and saw she has that inner-drive that she has something to prove.
"The place we are as a program, it was a perfect fit to get that type of experience interjected on to our team. It has been a great influence on us."
Seemann's first year as a Hawkeye was a building season.
"When I first got here, I was out of shape," she said. "I took the summer off before transferring, and the coaches knew I was going to do that. I was building through the Hawkeye Invitational and fall and was looking at the spring and championship season."
Seemann was Iowa's top point-scorer at the 2013 Big Ten Championships. She finished seventh in the 400-yard individual medley with a school-record time of 4:15.00, while also finishing 16th in the 500-freestyle (4:45.86) and posting a school-record In the 200 backstroke (1:56.49). At the conclusion of the season, she was selected Iowa's Most Valuable Player.
"I performed well at Big Tens, but it wasn't what I wanted," she said. "I would have liked to be at NCAAs in March, same with some other people on our team that didn't quite make it."
Seemann's biggest contribution to the team has been her competitiveness and racing attitude.
"She is a competitor and loves to race," said Long. "That sounds silly to talk about at this level, but you can't have enough of those people. When you put them on the blocks or in any given sport, they are gamers and love to compete, race, and win.
"That's contagious throughout the rest of the team. We like that component and when it comes to big meets, she'll be there."
That is Seemann's plan. She wants to swim into the sunset at the NCAA Championships in Minneapolis from March 20-22, 2014.
"I want to better my performances at the Big Tens and get other people on my team to the NCAAs as well," she said. "If we can get the 800-free relay there, that would be key."
Long says Seemann is in a position to be among the Big Ten-best during her final collegiate season.
"She is in a good place as far as being able to compete with the highest levels of the Big Ten," he said. "We like her in that competitive role. She'll swim in a lot of events throughout the season, and we'll finalize her events later on."
With her swimming career entering its final stage, Seemann wouldn't change the path of her journey.
"It sounds crazy, but I don't regret going to Arizona," she said. "My freshman year was exactly what I wanted and it eventually brought me here.
"It has been what I expected and everything has followed through with all things that drew me here and the team... it has been a fun ride."
Iowa returns to the pool today, hosting the Hawkeye Invitational at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center Pool. Preliminaries begin at 10 a.m. (CT) all three days, while final sessions are set for 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 4 p.m. Sunday.