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Hoosiers end first full day of competition at NCAAs



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IU junior freestyle and backstroke swimmer Ali Khalafalla leaps into the pool for the 200-yard medley relay against Louisville. Khalafalla earned an honorable mention All-American for his 11th place finish in the 50-yard freestyle.  Victor Grössling Buy Photos

In the first full day of competition at the 2017 NCAA Championships, the IU men’s swim and dive team sits in fifth overall with a total of 121 points.

“It’s a battle,” head swim coach Ray Looze said. “We had a good day today — wasn’t a perfect day but we found a way to get the job done.”

IU kicked off the night in the 200-yeard freestyle relay with a seventh place finish, the best finish for an IU team in history.

Senior Sam Lorentz and juniors Ali Khalafalla, Blake Pieroni and Josh Romany finished with a time of 1:16.78.

Senior Marwan Elkamash and sophomore Vini Lanza followed the 200 free relay in the 500-yard freestyle and the 200-yard individual medley, respectively. Lanza finished 14th.

Elkamash finished seventh and broke the IU record while swimming against two of his former South Carolina teammates, Fynn Minuth and Akram Mahmoud.

Mahmoud was also teammates with 
Elkamash on the Egyptian 
National Team.

“I’m always next to my Egyptian teammate, and whenever we’re always next to each other we always just go for it from the beginning of the race,” Elkamash said.

Elkamash was in a record-breaking 500 free final that saw Texas’ Clark Smith set the American, U.S. Open, NCAA, meet and pool records.

“Marwan’s time was incredible,” Looze said. “I just can’t believe it was seventh. That was one of the most epic heats of that event; it is the fastest. That time a year ago, two years ago would’ve been second or third.”

Khalafalla closed out the individual swims for the Hoosiers with a third-place finish in the consolation 50-yard freestyle and placed 11th overall.

Khalafalla was named an honorable mention All-American for his 
performance.

“Ali really stepped up and got it done on the 50 free,” Looze said. “We need him to go a little faster on relays, though.”

In the final relay of the night, the 400-yard medley, the team of senior Bob Glover, Pieroni, and sophomores Ian Finnerty and Lanza 
finished sixth, the best finish for the Hoosiers in the event in 37 years.

On the diving side, junior Michael Hixon and sophomore James Connor finished second and third respectively in the championship final of the 1-meter springboard, with first place being Purdue’s Steele 
Johnson.

“It’s nice, obviously tonight would’ve preferred Steele not being there, but no, he’s a great guy, and we all get along really well,” Connor said.

Hixon came close to defeating Johnson on his final dive with a score of 91.80, but it wasn’t quite enough to pull out the win.

“It was good. A little too little too late, but no, it’s always good to finish strong,” Hixon said.

This was also the first time two Hoosiers placed in the top three of the 1-meter since 1969.

The Hoosiers will be back in the pool starting at 10 a.m. Friday.

“Tomorrow morning is going to be really important that we do a really thorough job of physical warmup, and then just being mentally ready to go ‘cause it’s a grind, this meet,” Looze said.

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