sports   |  swimming & diving

No. 1 men's swimming and diving looks to stay perfect in home opener



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Ali Khalafalla, IU junior freestyle and backstroke swimmer, leaps into the pool for the 200-yard medley relay against Louisville last season. Khalafalla, along with the men's and women's swimming and diving teams, will have his first home meet of the season this Thursday afternoon.  Victor Grössling Buy Photos

It's all gone to according to plan so far for the IU men's swimming and diving team this season.

The Hoosiers currently sit at 4-0 and are atop the College Swimming Coaches Association of America rankings.

Head swimming Coach Ray Looze was also named the SwimSwam Coach of the Month for October, a distinction for which he didn't take sole credit. 

“That award is an illustration of having really good coaches, I really praise our staff and the kids on the team,” Looze said. “Not one person can do it all, you’ve got to have everybody playing their role at a high level to win a championship.”

Looze and the Hoosiers will continue the road to winning championships at 2 p.m. Thursday as No. 14 Notre Dame and Cincinnati visit Bloomington for a meet.

On the women's side, the 2-2 Hoosiers will go up against No. 10 Notre Dame and a similarly unranked Cincinnati team.

The meet will have an unusual feel for IU, as it was originally scheduled for Friday. However, it was moved up to Thursday afternoon at the Counsilman Billingsley Aquatic Center because the IU water polo team will be playing a tournament there over the weekend.

“It breaks up the training week more than anything else and we have to front run our week,” head diving Coach Drew Johansen said. “Instead of spreading the dives out over a five or six day training period, we have to get it done in the first three days.”

The schedule change wasn’t the only shakeup in the meet, Looze said, as Notre Dame wasn’t originally scheduled to participate in the meet. 

Looze said Cincinnati was the only other team in the meet until Notre Dame had problems with its schedule. A meet fell through for the Irish, and the Hoosiers decided to help them out by including them in this meet at the last minute, Looze said.  

"They're highly ranked, so we've got our work cut out for us," Looze said.

Because the meet occurs on a Thursday, IU and the other schools have made the decision to shorten it to only 13 events, instead of the usual 16. This will cut three swimming events from the meet, while diving will run on its usual routine. 

Looze said the schools decided to shorten the meet because it’s in the middle of the week and they didn’t want it too long. He also said the shortened meet offers Notre Dame and Cincinnati more options in terms of travel plans. 

The Hoosiers visited Southeastern Conference schools earlier this season when they traveled to Gainesville, Florida, and Knoxville, Tennessee, respectively.

“We love to dive at home, it's nice to sleep in your own bed and be on your own diving boards with our fans in the stands,” Johansen said. “We’re real excited about the home opener.”

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