Illinois swim & dive routs Iowa in first home meet of season


Photo courtesy of Illini Athletics

Swimmer Meghan Nizolek performs the backstroke during a meet against Northwestern on Oct. 23. The Illini held their first game of the 2022 season and won against Iowa State 204-87.

By Jonathan Alday, Staff Writer

Illinois welcomed Big Ten rival Iowa to the ARC Pool on Saturday for the team’s first home meet of 2022.

Illinois took care of business, dominating Iowa 204-87 for its first win against the Hawkeyes since 2007. 

The last Illinois meet was its midseason contest at IUPUI, where the Illini finished first after a grueling weekend of competition.

Since then, the Illini had started training for their meet at FIU, though it was later canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

“We hit the ground running,” said senior diver Maddy Crosby. “We took advantage of the opportunity of school not starting, so the team had our undivided attention.”

The Songebob-themed meet, dubbed ‘Nautical Nonsense,’ saw the Illini dominate the Hawkeyes, finishing first in 11 of the 16 events and occupying the whole podium on six events.

The meet started with a first-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay by freshmen Molly Yetter and Logan Kuehne, junior Divya Kale and senior Abby Cabush.

After the 1,000-yard freestyle that saw sophomores Meghan Niziolek and Anna Kurzydlo finish second and third, respectively, Cabush made easy work of the 200-yard freestyle, finishing first with a time of 1:50.28.

Cabush continued to dominate the meet, both as an individual and anchor in the final relay of the meet, finishing first in the 100-yard butterfly and the 400-yard freestyle relay alongside Yetter and sophomores Laurel Bludgen and Lily Olson.

While the swimming team dominated, the diving team remained competitive with Crosby and sophomore Taylor Michael finishing second and third, respectively, in the 1-meter dive.

Michael also finished second in the 3-meter dive, while her twin, Brooke Michael, finished third.

“The underclassmen have had a lot of growth, not being passive and holding others accountable,” Crosby said.

Yetter, fellow freshmen Sydney Stoll and sophomore Cara Bognar have solidified their presences on the team through their consistent contributions to relays and further contributions to the juggernaut of the Illinois freestyle team as each one finished on the podium at least twice.

“It’s fun to compete against all teams, but it’s always the most fun against Big Ten teams,” Crosby said. “It’s always more challenging and has a lot more energy.” 

Next up, Illinois will look to celebrate Crosby and eight other seniors with Senior Day during its meet against the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Jan. 22 at the ARC Pool.

See the full results of the meet here.



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