For the second straight season, the IU men’s swimming and diving team finished the season undefeated. The last dual meet loss for the program came more than two years ago on Jan. 16, 2016.
The No. 3 squad capped off their perfect season at 9-0 with a win over No. 14 Louisville on Friday afternoon to extend their win streak to 22-straight dual meets.
Despite not having the best dual meet record over his career, IU Coach Ray Looze has turned his fortune around these past two years.
“I’ve been a terrible dual meet coach, historically,” Looze said. “They went undefeated despite my best efforts to defeat them.”
Two Hoosier men swept their respective events, as Bloomington native Ian Finnerty won both the 100 and 200 breaststroke. Junior Vini Lanza also swept the butterfly events by winning the 100 and 200.
While the men dominated in Louisville, the No. 7 IU women were also impressive as they squeaked by the No. 10 Cardinals in a tight race, 160.5-139.5.
The sweep over the Cardinals was important for Looze, especially on the women’s side because of their struggles in past years.
“They beat us at our place last year at home, so we got to exact some redemption on them,” Looze said. “There was some really entertaining racing.”
It’s no surprise that junior Lilly King was the star of the meet on the women’ side. King has been one of the leaders on the team all season long.
At this point in her career it’s the same news for King every dual meet. Once again she claimed three individual events. King touched first in the 100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke and the 400 IM with a personal best time of 4:13.69.
The last dual meet of the season pushed the IU women above .500 as they finished the season at 5-4. While the record doesn’t look flashy, their dual meet schedule was brutal as they faced seven top-20 teams over the course of the year.
According to Looze, going on the road against ranked teams is one of the perks of being a top-10 team, something other coaches might not favor.
“We’re swimming and diving in front of packed houses so it’s not hard to get up for these things,” Looze said. “People are pretty excited to compete against us and it makes it good for our athletes as well.”
Playing one of the toughest dual meet schedules in the country has provided the Hoosiers with the experience they need to go against teams in the Big Ten Championships and NCAA Championships.
Over these next few weeks, the Hoosiers are somewhat in a lull until the Big Ten Championships. The women will travel to Columbus, Ohio, and compete on Feb. 14-16 at Ohio State. The men will get another week of rest before they suit up on Feb. 21-24 in Minneapolis.
The teams for the Big Ten Championships will be chosen within the next week. Those left off the Big Ten team will get to compete in the First Chance Meet at on Feb. 16-17 at Purdue.
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