By JAMES ALLAN
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. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — There has been year-by-year growth for Mekenna Scheitlin with the University of Iowa women’s swimming and diving program.
Scheitlin has gone from being another Hawkeye sprinter to one of Iowa’s top sprinters in 2017-18.
“She can get off the blocks and do things under the water from a speed perspective that is impressive,” said Iowa head coach Marc Long. “Each year she has put it together better and better and is getting more confident.
“It’s awesome to see her right now in the position where she is racing, competing, and beating the best. We’re excited about what is going on.”
Scheitlin swam times of 23.30 seconds in the 50 free, 51.61 in the 100 free, and 54.84 in the 100 fly as a freshman. She improved those times as a sophomore (23.40/51.61/54.84) and time drops continued as a junior (22.84/51.56/53.95), where she posted times that rank in the top four in school history.
“When I came in as a freshman everything was so big and exciting,” said Scheitlin, a South Barrington, Illinois, native. “I think I grew from being scared to having more confidence and having my team to support me.”
Scheitlin says the Iowa coaches and her Hawkeye teammates push her and hold her accountable. That makes accomplishing personal goals that much sweeter.
“They are there telling me when they know I can go faster in the water,” said Scheitlin. “It’s always fun to be able to race and have someone next to you to be able to accomplish your goals with.”
Now a senior, Scheitlin wants her Hawkeye career to end with another memorable experience.
“My goals are always to swim faster, but I want to see us as a team finish top 10 in the Big Ten,” she said. “That’s one of our goals. Another is to get a couple of relays to NCAAs. (It would be amazing) to be a part of that and to have that experience of going to that meet with my teammates.”
Scheitlin’s growth in the water is more impressive when considering her rigorous academic path. She is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten and Dean’s List honoree as a mechanical engineering major, who will graduate in May.
“It’s difficult (juggling swimming and school),” said Scheitlin, who wants to pursue a career in automotive design. “The biggest thing is time management. Being a student-athlete helps because if I didn’t swim, I would procrastinate more. Growing up with swimming, it has always been like that.
“You don’t have as much time to goof around, but having both has made me stay on top of my school work to make sure I get everything done.”
Long credits Scheitlin for being well-rounded as a student and athlete.
“She’s goal oriented and organized to be able to compete at the highest levels,” said Long. “The Big Ten Conference, in all sports, is competitive athletically and academically. She is goal-driven and has been working hard toward excelling, not only in the pool, but in the classroom.
“We have a good environment, especially on the women’s side that support each other with these difficult majors.”