A horde of collegiate swimming and diving teams will descend on IU’s Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center this weekend, as the IU women’s swimming and diving team hosts the Hoosierland Invite, which takes place Friday through Sunday.
Competing against IU in the swimming portion of the meet are Cincinnati, Louisville, Truman State and Pittsburgh. The diving portion will feature Cincinnati, Wright State, Pittsburgh, Louisville and IU-Purdue University Indianapolis.
The No. 10 women’s team comes into the meet having faced some tough competition early in the season. The Hoosiers lost to then-No. 7 Texas on Nov. 1, but have also defeated Big Ten rivals then-No. 14 Michigan and then-No. 22 Northwestern. None of the teams coming this weekend are ranked, but that doesn’t mean IU coach Ray Looze is looking past them.
“The teams that are coming in many cases are going to be peaked for this, whereas we’re going to be coming in with a heavy load of training,” Looze said. “It could be a really good challenge for us, even though the rankings might not show that.”
As has been the case all season, the Hoosiers are not cutting back in practice to rest up for this weekend’s meet, instead keeping their focus on the two big meets at the end of the season: the Big Ten Championships and the NCAA Championships.
The two-and-a-half week span since the team’s last meet has allowed for a lot of intense training, said sophomore Ashley Kranz.
“We’ve all been working really hard for the past couple weeks,” Kranz said. “Some (distance swimmers) have been coming down in yardage so we can get good times in longer events like the 1,000 (-yard freestyle), but for the most part we’ve been training hard.”
The Hoosierland Invite is scheduled similarly to the Big Ten and NCAA Championship meets, with a round of preliminary swims starting each day at 9 a.m., followed by a 6 p.m. session that features a final.
The swimmers with the top eight times from the morning session will make up the finals heat, while a consolation heat will consist of swimmers whose times were ninth through 16th in the morning session. Relays are only swam in the evening session.
Looze likes participating in the Invite because he feels it is good preparation for those end-of-season meets.
“Basically, you score all your points in preliminaries,” Looze said. “So if you belong in the finals, then you’d better swim like it, or you might wind up in consols or not even in scoring position. We want to make sure the swimmers understand how to swim well in prelims, then come back at night, swim multiple events and do well.”
The only difference between the Hoosierland Invite and a meet like the Big Ten Championships is the event load, Looze said. Each swimmer will be expected to compete in two events each day, plus a relay. Because every individual event is swum in two separate sessions, IU swimmers can compete in as many as four per day in addition to a relay, making this meet the most demanding one of the season.
“We’re kind of taking a warrior mentality,” Looze said. “I know it’s going to be a heavy load.”
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