College athletes: Vondenkamp nears end of stellar swim career at Iowa State

Jenny Vondenkamp swims distance races for Iowa State and has been captain for two seasons. (Iowa State photo)

Elk River graduate Jenny Vondenkamp, heading into her final collegiate swimming meet of a distinguished career at Iowa State, is the subject of a feature currently posted on the ISU web site.

Vondenkamp is two-year captain for the Cyclones, who will cap the season at the Big 12 meet in Austin, Texas, Wednesday through Saturday.

The article stated that Vondenkamp will go down as one of Iowa State’s finest distance swimmers. She currently ranks third in Cyclone history in the 500 (4:53.58) and 1650 free (16:50.81), sixth in the 1000 free (10:13.35) and seventh in the 200 free (1:51.14).

During the dual meet season, Vondenkamp led the Cyclones in the 500 and 1650 free and ranks second in the 200 and 1000 free. She is tied for second in event wins, collecting nine.

Vondenkamp competed in five state meets with the Elks and held three team records when she graduated. Her coach, Colleen Killpatrick, a former ISU swimmer, alerted Cyclone coach Duane Sorenson to watch Vondenkamp when she was in 10th grade.

“Jenny is one of the most genuine, nice people that you will ever meet,” reflected Sorenson in the ISU article.  “Her personality fit with the kind of student-athlete we want to bring here.”

In dual meets, the distance swimmers usually swim a 1000 free immediately after the opening relay. By the time the distance swimmers have gone “down and back” 20 times and completed a proper warm down swim, it is back to the starting blocks for the 500 free.

“The challenge is coming back later in a dual meet for the 500 free,” Sorenson noted. “Learning the pain in the 500 when they are not used to it is the challenge because they use so much energy in the 1000. Then it becomes more of a mental race.”

This season, more was asked of her than in the past, with Jenny swimming on Iowa State’s ‘A’ 400 free relay team all of this season.

Vondenkamp observed: “You have to be strong physically to finish the long races but you know it is going to hurt so you also have to have the mental capability. For me, I have improved a lot mentally this season.”

In last year’s Big 12 meet, Vondenkamp placed 10th in the 1650 free, 15th in the 200 free and 16th in the 500 free. Her career highlight came two years ago at the Big 12 when she took seventh in the 1650  with a career-best 16:50.81.

The article can be viewed at:

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