Competing against four top-25 teams in the first two weeks of the season might seem like a daunting task for a collegiate swim and dive program, but for IU it was business as usual as it swept Kentucky and Tennessee in Lexington, Kentucky.
The Kentucky Wildcats, No. 18 in men’s and No. 21 in women’s, and the Tennessee Volunteers, No. 13 in men’s and No. 11 in women’s, posed another top-level matchup for IU in its first road meet. The Hoosiers rose to the challenge, as the men’s team upped its record to 6-0 in dual meets, while the women improved to 4-2.
The win against Tennessee was particularly tough for the women’s team because IU didn’t take a single relay against the Volunteers but still came out ahead, 152-148. The men won 200-100.
“I was really impressed with how well the women swam,” head IU swimming Coach Ray Looze said. “I thought they really dug down like a good team should.”
Sophomore Lilly King and junior Kennedy Goss led the women’s swimmers. King continued her breaststroke dominance and won the 100- and 200-yard races in the event. She also finished third in the 200-yard individual medley.
Goss won the 200- and 500-yard freestyle and finished second in the 200-yard backstroke.
“The real star of the day was Kennedy Goss,” Looze said. “I was just super, super impressed. She was definitely the star of the show when it came down to putting out four really, really good efforts. We couldn’t have won without her.”
On the men’s side, the IU divers showcased their depth once again. The Hoosiers took four of the top six spots in both the 1- and 3-meter dives. Senior Michael Hixon and sophomore James Connor finished first in the 1-meter and 3-meter, respectively.
“It was good to go toe-to-toe with some quality opposition,” Connor said. “We all sort of rose to the occasion ... It’s exciting for what we’re capable of and shows the direction the program is heading.”
The Hoosiers also got impressive results from senior Bob Glover and the freshman duo of Jack Kucharczyk and Cassie Jernberg. Glover won the 100-yard backstroke, finished second in the 200-yard backstroke and was part of the winning 200-yard medley relay team.
Jernberg finished second in the 1,000-yard freestyle, while Kucharczyk, whom Looze highlighted as a pleasant surprise thus far, finished second in the 200-yard breaststroke.
“When you see it you’re always really impressed at freshmen that really contribute,” Looze said. “On the men’s side, Jack Kucharczyk ... he’s gone literally from last man on the team to making the travel squad to playing a meaningful role. That’s what’s super impressive about his situation. He was hardly recruited, and here’s this guy.”
IU’s next meet won’t be as grueling, as it welcomes to Bloomington a Michigan State team that finished 10th in the men’s and 13th in the women’s Big Ten Championships last year.
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