IU swimming and diving took a winter training trip to Tempe, Arizona, and are gearing up for the second half of the season.
The swimming team traveled for a few days and returned to Bloomington on Dec. 28, 2017.
This trip was unique for IU because they trained with Arizona State, their first combined training session with another school. IU Coach Ray Looze said the team made this decision because of his close relationship with ASU Coach Bob Bowman, who has also coached Michael Phelps in the past.
“We just have a really good relationship, myself and their head coach, that came about at the Rio Olympics,” Looze said. “I’m not sure if I have that kind of relationship with anybody elsewhere.”
That trip was used to prepare the team for its tough second half of the season that includes ranked match-ups, Big Ten Championships, NCAA Championships and Speedo Sectionals to close the season.
Before the Hoosiers get to the championship season, they have to battle with the eight ranked men's team and fourth ranked women's team of Michigan this Saturday in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
According to Diving Coach Drew Johansen, this is a meet they’ve had circled on their calendar since the schedule came out.
“I think we’re gonna be in for our toughest meet of the year because we’re certainly rivals within the Big Ten,” Johansen said. “Everybody’s going to be ready for it.”
The diving team spent their break somewhat differently than the swimming squad, as two divers took home diving titles across the world.
Senior Michael Hixon stayed in the states and won gold in the three-meter with a score of 1231.85 at the 2017 USA Diving Winter National Championships in Greensborough, North Carolina.
Meanwhile, Australia native, junior James Connor was making noise across the globe with two top finishes.
Connor took home gold in the three-meter at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Trials in Australia and later placed third in the one-meter.
“I don’t know how many NCAA schools can boast that they have the national champion from three different powerhouse diving countries in the world,” Johansen said.
Looze said this Michigan team is the deepest IU has ever faced and could expose some of IU’s flaws as a team.
Michigan hasn’t lost at home in more than a decade and Looze is well aware of that.
“I don’t think they’ve lost a meet at home in decades,” Looze said. “We were the last team to beat them, (at home) but that was over 10 years ago.”
According to Looze, this is the most difficult competition the Hoosiers have faced all year, as the Michigan men and women are the Big Ten favorites thus far.
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