Feb. 15, 2012
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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 University of Iowa freshman Becky Stoughton suits up for her first Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships this week at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center pool, she’s trying to stay in the moment.
“You have to keep your eyes on the prize,” said Stoughton. “The Big Tens have been my main focus. It is mini goals that you set (for yourself), trying to get you ready for the big goals.”
The Peoria, Ill., native has made a living, setting and accomplishing mini-goals throughout the 2011-12 season.
Stoughton has set 16 records thus far in her freshman season. She owns the school and CRWC pool records in the 1,000 free (9:39.44), 500-free (4:43.79) and 400 IM (4:16.01) and the school mark in the 200 free (1:48.52). She also owns pool records at Wisconsin, Iowa State and Notre Dame.
Her stellar inaugural season hasn’t gone unnoticed, as she has been selected as the Big Ten Freshman of the Week three times. Stoughton also was tabbed as the Division I National Swimmer of the Week by collegeswimming.com and the Big Ten Conference Swimmer of the Week on Nov. 8.
“For her it’s another opportunity. She’s been doing it all year in whatever situation — dual meets, training camp. She steps up and races well, and we expect that from her this week.”
UI head coach Marc Long
Stoughton says the 2011-12 season has gone better than expected, but she’s trying to stay focused at performing when it matters most. She’s trying not to get too far ahead of herself when setting goals at the championships.
“I want to try to make the finals heat,” she said. “If things go well there, we’ll see where it goes.
“I try not to have too big of expectations. My main focus is to try and get to that finals heat my freshman year. I want to be able to make more goals after I get that one.”
UI head coach Marc Long says that Stoughton’s junior resume has prepared her for a meet like the Big Ten Championships. Stoughton was a four-time All-American during her prep swimming days at Peoria Notre Dame High School.
“She’s been competing quite a bit growing up in each group level and at the national level,” said Long. “She’s prepared from that aspect.”
With the resume that Stoughton has already accomplished this season, Long is eager to see how she performs this week in Iowa City.
“For her it’s another opportunity,” said Long. “She’s been doing it all year in whatever situation — dual meets, training camp. She steps up and races well, and we expect that from her this week.
“Where that puts her, we’re not sure. But she’s a great competitor, and we think she’s going to have an outstanding meet.”
Would Stoughton say she’s ready for the grind of her first Big Ten Championships?
“I’m feeling good so far,” she said. “I guess we’re going to find out.”
The 2012 Big Ten Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships are set to begin Wednesday night with the first finals session beginning at 6:30 p.m. The action continues Thursday, Friday and Saturday with preliminaries at 11 a.m. followed by finals each evening at 6:30 p.m.