Familiar faces led the IU women’s swim and dive team to its top-10 finish at the NCAA Championships this weekend in Indianapolis.
Senior Gia Dalesandro, juniors Jessica Parratto and Kennedy Goss, and sophomore Lilly King highlighted the Hoosiers’ second-best finish in school history. The 185 points for the week helped IU finish as the top Big Ten team at the championships.
Head swim coach Ray Looze said he was proud of the way his team was able to overcome any adversity it faced during the weekend.
King was sensational for the Hoosiers, as she won national championships in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke.
The 200-yard breaststroke final on Saturday night was the highlight of the week for King. She set the American, NCAA, meet, U.S. Open, IU Natatorium and school records in the event with a time of 2:03.18.
Looze said King had an up and down meet, and noted she was particularly disappointed with her performance in the 200-yard individual medley.
“She has got a super high standard for herself,” Looze said. “The good thing about Lilly is when she runs into stuff like that she’s such a fighter and has such great pride and will that the way she finished the meet was pretty special.”
Dalesandro and Goss also had strong showings during the meet. Dalesandro finished eighth in the 100-yard butterfly, an event in which she was the first IU swimmer ever to qualify for the championship final, and 11th in the 200-yard butterfly.
Goss’ best performances for the championships were a third-place finish in the 500-freestyle and seventh in the 200-yard backstroke.
“All three of those girls are what you would call ‘bell-cows,’” Looze said. “They’re just leaders.”
On the diving side, Parratto was a standout for the Hoosiers. The Dover, New Hampshire, native finished second in the 10-meter platform dive, 10th in the 1-meter springboard and 14th in the 3-meter springboard.
Head dive coach Drew Johansen said Parratto’s performance was impressive because the NCAA Championship is always one of the toughest meets in the world, in his opinion.
“It was good for Jess to be back into the mix, to be competitive in all three events, to learn how to do all three events again in back to back-to-back days, three days in a row, and she did fantastic,” Johansen said.
Parratto’s accomplishment was even more impressive coming off the grueling Zone C Championships used to qualify for NCAA’s the weekend prior.
This was the final competition for the Hoosiers in a season that included a second-place finish at Big Tens, eighth at NCAAs and 24 All-America honorees..
“Getting second at the Big Tens and eighth at the NCAAs, we didn’t really possess the personnel to do that yet,” Looze said. “Through really good preparation, kids working hard, coaches maximizing the talents that we had, we exceeded expectation in every way shape and form.”
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