Large crowd watches Storm fall to Kohawks


by Scott Schleisman

With only one week until the Iowa Conference meet, the Simpson women’s swim team hosted a dual meet against Coe on Saturday

Coe came to the Cowles Fieldhouse pool with a larger team than Simpson, but the team fought hard in a 114-57 loss.

“We only have nine girls out,” coach Mark Corley said. “That makes it more difficult for us to compete in team competitions against larger teams like Coe.”

Even with the adversity, the team had a few bright spots in the day. Senior Erin Fitzgerald placed first in the 50-meter freestyle and freshman Lauren Origer placed first in the 100-meter backstroke and second in the 50-meter freestyle.

Sophomore Amanda Rigg also placed second in the 200-meter freestyle and 100-meter butterfly.

The Storm will compete against other Iowa Conference teams with full squads at this weekend’s Iowa Conference Championships.

“Swimming programs at some of the other conference schools are a bigger deal … because they have both men and women’s teams.” Corley said. “By only having a women’s team, it is harder for us to fill the bleachers.”

During Saturday’s dual, the bleachers were packed with more than 80 spectators. The unexpectedly large crowd was encouraging to the swimmers. One reason for the good turnout could be the lack of meets at Simpson this year.

The dual on Saturday was the only meet held at Simpson this year. Buena Vista was scheduled for a dual here, but the Beavers were forced to cut their swimming program over the offseason.

The lone home meet doubled as the team’s senior day. The two seniors on the team, Fitzgerald and Sarah Lauterbach, were recognized for their achievements over their swimming career at Simpson. Fitzgerald holds many of the team’s best times this year, both individually and as a member of the relays. Lauterbach was the team captain.

The team was busy helping with its fund raiser before and after the meet. Sweatshirts and T-shirts were sold to parents and spectators. Some of the profits will be used to help any of the women who qualify for Nationals.

To prepare for the conference meet, the team had Wednesday and Thursday off of practice this week.

“We want the team fresh and eager for Conference,” Corley said.

After the conference meet, there is another chance for team members to qualify for Nationals.

The Liberal Arts Invitational is a meet open to colleges outside of the Iowa Conference. Many colleges have a swimming program but no conference meet to allow them to qualify for Nationals. This invitational allows these isolated swim programs to compete against other Midwest teams.

Although Simpson and the other Iowa Conference teams do have a conference meet to attend, they will still attend the Liberal Arts Invitational.

“I am excited about the next two big meets,” Corley said. “Our team has come a long way. At the beginning of the season I was coaching a bunch of individuals and now I am coaching a team. By coming together as a unit, they have improved a lot.”

One of the team’s goals is to have every team member make the conference finals in at least one event.

“Erin [Fitzgerald] and Lauren [Origer] both have a good chance at having success at conference and maybe making Nationals,” junior Gvonne Alger said.

After Nationals, Corley and the squad will take a few months off, only to get into the weight room and start training for next year.

“We have a young team that will improve a lot over the next few years,” Alger said.