Iowa Kicks Off Day 1 of Hawkeye Invite

IOWA CITY, Iowa – University of Iowa women’s swimming and diving opened the Hawkeye Invitational against Big Ten opponents Illinois, Nebraska, and Rutgers on Thursday at the CRWC Natatorium.

A total of ten Hawkeyes placed themselves in scoring position for final rounds after the morning preliminary session. Preliminary rounds kicked off with the 500 free, where both freshman Sila Ozkazanc and sophomore Alix O’Brien swam qualifying times to score during the afternoon’s race. Freshman Sabina Kupcova and senior Aleksandra Olesiak qualified into the scoring rounds of the 200 IM finals. Senior Kennedy Gilbertson and freshman Scarlet Martin qualified to score in the 50 free finals.

Iowa’s sophomore Makayla Hughbanks, junior Sarah Ballard, and freshmen Geneva Pauly and Lainey Woodward all moved on to the afternoon’s final 16 off the 1-meter springboards, qualifying in Section A.

The afternoon’s events began with a 200 free relay. Iowa’s quartet of Gilbertson, Martin, Kupcova, and sophomore Molly Pedersen combined for a second-place finish (1:31.49) — just a half-second shy of the program record.

Ozkazanc and O’Brien brought home 12 and nine points, respectively, for the Hawkeyes in the 500 free finals with two season-best performances. Kupcova scored 11 points in the 200 IM, while Olesiak swam a season-best to score 5 points.

Gilbertson tied for second in the 50 free with a career-best time of 22.83, scoring 16.5 points. Martin also came away with a career-best, tallying 14 points to Iowa’s total.
Four divers scored double-digit points for the Hawkeyes. Woodward scored 15 points in a career-best 288.10 effort. Hughbanks scored 13, Pauly 12, and Ballard 11 to round out diving points.

Iowa will return to action Friday for the 200-medley relay, 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back, 3-meter dive, and 800 free relay events of the Hawkeye Invitational. Preliminary rounds begin at 10 a.m. (CT) with finals to follow at 5 p.m. (CT).