First beam dynamics studies of a damping wiggler prototype for the CLIC damping rings have been carried out at the KIT storage ring. Efects of the 2.9 T superconducting wiggler on the electron beam in the 2.5 GeV standard operation mode have been measured and compared with theoretical predictions. Higher order multipole components were investigated using local orbit bump measurements. Based on these findings the simulation models for the storage ring optics have been adjusted. The refined optics model has been applied to the 1.3 GeV, low-alpha operation case. This case will be used to experimentally benchmark beam dynamics simulations involving strong wiggler fields and dominant collective efects. We present these measurements, comparisons and the findings of the simulations with the updated low-alpha mode optics model.