In a record-setting performance, junior Ivy Martin was impressive during the Big Ten Championships for the Wisconsin women’s swimming and diving team.
In the 100-yard freestyle preliminary rounds, she raced a 48.05, beating the original Big Ten record by .03 seconds and advancing to the finals. Her performance in the finals was even more remarkable, as she crushed that new record with a time of 47.78, earning her the individual Big Ten title in the process.
One of the reasons for Martin’s great success is her competitive mindset that sets her apart from other swimmers. Because of this, women’s swimming and diving head coach Whitney Hite has high expectations for Martin.
“She’s hungry, and I keep calling her a cheetah,” Hite said in his Monday press conference. “She’ll run them down, and she’s super competitive. So my expectation is to be the best ever.”
Although those expectations may seem high, her performances have put her in elite company.
In the 50-yard freestyle, she swam a 21.58 in the prelims and a 21.68 in the finals, good enough for another Big Ten title. Hite believes the 21.58 time is good enough to put her among the top 10 American women swimmers.
Along with her teammates Aja Van Hout, Chase Kinney and Rebecka Palm, Martin also helped the 400-yard freestyle relay team take home a Big Ten title. Their time of 3:15.65 automatically qualified them for the NCAA meet as well.
Hite complimented Martin’s ability in the pool, which helps her overcome physical disadvantages to bigger, stronger swimmers.
“She’s got some talent that can’t really be taught. But the way she attacks things and does some pretty technical things that you can’t necessarily teach, it’s talent,” Hite said. “So it’s fun to watch.”
Outside of the individual and relay victories, the Badgers finished sixth in the Big Ten Conference meet thanks in large part to the improvements of the diving competition.
Ashley Peterson earned points on two platforms in the diving competition, which bumped the Badgers up into sixth.
The qualifying individuals for the women’s swim and dive team will continue their season at the NCAA meet on March 20-22.
Badgers set for conference meet
On the men’s side, the men’s swimming and diving team is preparing for their upcoming conference meet that begins Wednesday in Ann Arbor.
There are big expectations for the Wisconsin freshman to do well, even if it is only their first time competing in the Big Ten Conference meet.
“They swam well all year. At this point, they’re seasoned veterans, and, yeah, we’re expecting them to step up and be key contributors,” Hite said.
As an upperclassman on a relatively young team, junior Drew teDuits also needs to compete well in the Big Ten meet, almost a year removed from winning the NCAA title last season in the 200-yard backstroke.
The men’s team has traveled the country and teDuits has swam against some of the best 200-yard backstroke racers in the country, experiences which Hite believes will help him in the upcoming races.
“When the lights are brightest, Drew’s at his best, and he’ll step up, and I know that he’ll be very, very good,” Hite said.
About three hours after teDuits won the NCAA title for the 200-yard backstroke last year, Hite was thinking of ways to make him faster transitioning into this season to help him defend the title.
“I think that he can get stronger and train at a higher level, which he’s doing compared to last year,” Hite said.
The results of Hite’s solution will be seen when teDuits competes against some of the best swimmers in the Big Ten this weekend.
The men’s team is also improving in the diving competition. Hite expects the divers to become a strength of the team, something exciting for the program.
Martin and teDuits were both named to the 2013-2014 U.S. National Swim Team roster, which puts them in the top six in the country at that event.
Hite hopes the growth and success of the team continues after having two of his elite athletes grow up in Madison, and he hopes the Badgers can continue to keep that homegrown talent in Madison.
With the women’s performance last weekend and his expectations for this upcoming weekend for the men’s team, Hite cannot help but be excited about the future of the Wisconsin swimming and diving teams.