The undefeated No. 14 IU men’s swimming and diving team will face its toughest test of the year during the weekend when it takes on No. 1 Texas and No. 5 Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich.
“The practice (this week) has been real good,” said IU distance coach Mike Westphal. “The guys seem to be pretty focused on the huge challenge that they have in front of them, with Texas being the top team in the country and Michigan in the top five.”
The Hoosiers have fared well to begin the season, notching comfortable wins against Kentucky and Northwestern in their first two meets of the season.
“We’re real excited because we had two real good meets to start out the season,” saidsophomore Matt O’Brien. “Kentucky was a tough meet for us, and we just put it all together. Hopefully we can do that again this weekend.”
This weekend’s meet provides a new challenge for IU, and O’Brien said the Hoosiers have stressed the fundamentals in practice this week.
“We’re really working on our relay starts,” O’Brien said. “We’re just going back to basics, really, working on turns, starts and technique, making sure we get our stuff down.”
Facing good competition early in the year is nothing new for the Hoosiers, and the team appears up to the challenge.
“We’re always excited for a challenge,” said sophomore Doug Spraul. “Our coaches always plan on us swimming against some big competitors this time of year. It just gives us a chance to see the competition across the nation.”
IU comes in riding momentum gained not only from winning two meets in a row to begin the season, but also from sweeping the Big Ten weekly awards, with junior Aaron Opell winning Swimmer of the Week and sophomore Landon Marzullo earning Diver of the Week. The honor was Marzullo’s second of the season.
Despite the tough teams that stand in their way, Westphal said the Hoosiers are ready to compete.
“We look forward to something like this,” Westphal said. “If we didn’t, then we just wouldn’t be a competitive team. We wouldn’t be one of the top teams in the country.”
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