Feb. 16, 2007
IOWA CITY, IA –
After four years of constant changes and obstacles to overcome, it is now time for the women’s swimming and diving seniors to finish the last chapter of their careers.
“This class has experienced a lot throughout this four year process. That includes myself going from assistant to interim to full-time coach to combining the teams,” said Head Coach Marc Long. “They’ve seen it all and they’ve just kept plugging away and getting better and better. They’ve all improved, so that shows you their character. They wanted things to be better so they kept working hard.”
Senior Emmy Haegar
The biggest thing the seniors had to overcome this year was handling so many young athletes. If eight sophomores weren’t enough, the team also welcomed 12 new athletes. It was the job of the five seniors (Emmy Haeger, Nicole Nemmers, Erin Petty, Robin Samples, Jaclyn Sarna) to continue building on what they started.
“When you add so many new people into the mix, you sometimes have turmoil. The seniors were there with open arms and welcomed all these new people,” said Long.
The seniors have provided the leadership and stability that Long was hoping for. Whether it was competing at a dual meet challenge in Missouri with one meet after another, or not wanting to be in the sun while having to compete in the Florida heat, the seniors continued to step up, race well, and set an example for the underclassmen.
Senior Erin Petty
With such a small group of seniors, Erin Petty does admit, “It was kind of overwhelming. There were so many freshmen and so few upperclassmen; I think it worked out O.K.” Even with age disparities, everyone was able to mesh well together.
Long claims that every one of the freshmen were brought here because they could help the team move up in the Big Ten. Aside from brining more depth, they have also been able to bring a new energy. With youthfulness though, comes inexperience.
Senior Jaclyn Sarna
“Some of them at the beginning of the season, you could tell they were scared or nervous. They held back a little bit on their swims and how much they were going to try,” said Emmy Haeger. “They didn’t know what to expect.”
Throughout the season, they all did a good job of making adjustments toward the end of the year. They don’t look scared to race anymore.
“Now they all race like they’ve been here four years,” said Haeger.
Long realized that the team lacked depth in terms of experience this season, but the leadership from the senior class helped provide a quiet confidence for the underclassmen to feed off.
Although their time is drawing to a close, the senior class will be leaving the program knowing that they have laid the foundation for the program’s future. They have passed on their knowledge to the 20 underclassmen that will be the future of the Hawkeye swimming and diving program.
Josh Mitchell, Iowa Sports Information