Swimmers rise to challenge teams at Iowa City Invitational

 Ben Olson/Sports Editor

The Iowa City Invite turned out to be a test of talent for the lady Tiger swim team this past Saturday Sept. 19.

With some tough teams showing up, including Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Iowa City West, Iowa City High, West Des Moines Valley, Bettendorf and Ankeny, Cedar Falls was still able to place high in the bunch.

“We ended up placing third. Valley took second and Bettendorf won,” head coach Richard Marcussen said.
Going in to the meet, the girls knew it would be tough, but the actual event was at another level.

“It was a tough day. We swam well in some places. Not everybody had a best performance,” Marcussen said.

Standing out was senior Bailey Pons, who won the 500- and 200-yard freestyle and is number one statewide in these events.

“I stayed consistent with my times. I love consistency, so I’m very happy with how I did,” Pons said.
Sophomore Kelsey Abbas won the 100 backstroke and sophomore Montana Clasby and Abbas finished third and fourth respectively in the 200 individual medley. Other high placings for the Tigers came from the 200 medley relay team which took fifth, the 200 free relay team of Pons, Abbas, Clasby and senior Ashlee Graham that took third place and the 400 free relay team of Pons, junior Kyrie Dailey, Graham and Abbas that also took
third.

“There was some good swimming, and our previous state qualifiers did well. We were strong in the back and breast, and our strokes look good,” Marcussen said.

At this point in the season, the team isn’t lacking strength, but they do have a lot of room for improvement.

“They’re swimming hard and our strokes look good, but we need more turn-over. The kids are definitely trying hard, but we need to bear down hard on the fine points of the strokes,” Marcussen said. “We are not where we want to be. We have to keep working to make our relays better. If one person out of four is off on the relays, that can ruin it. We also need some good sprinters,” Marcussen said.

Pons also agreed that this difficult meet was full of ups and downs.
“We were definitely facing tough competition from the other teams. On the positive side, a lot of our times improved and people stepped up and tried different events,” Pons said.

Having swimmers diversify in their events led to new experience, but it also partly led to the Tiger’s downfall as well.
“We did move some people around, but it didn’t work as well as we thought,” Marcussen said.

The invite turned out to be a valuable lesson for improvement as the swimmers advance towards the end of the season in November.
“Overall, we need to focus on the technical errors – that could result in a one second time drop,” Marcussen said. “We just need to keep plugging away.

The Tiger swimming and diving team will compete next at the Linn-Mar Invite on Tuesday Sept. 22.

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