Men’s team faces tough test against conference foe Ohio State
In its final home meet before traveling to West Lafayette for the Big Ten Championships beginning Feb. 26, the IU men’s swimming and diving team faces two obstacles Saturday in No. 22 Missouri and No. 10 Ohio State.
“They will be tough, but we have had a tough schedule coming in,” IU coach Ray Looze said regarding Ohio State. “We just faced two top 10 teams, so we are ready for that kind of competition. Our men’s team can be dangerous to other (ranked) teams.”
Conference foe Ohio State, one of the nation’s strongest programs, looks to protect its undefeated record heading into the meet, riding the momentum of the recent 87-point slaughter of Wright State and a perfect showing at the Ohio State Invitational early last month.
The Hoosiers, who remain the country’s No. 14 team after defeating Tennessee and falling to Michigan in last weekend’s meet, look to sophomore diver Landon Marzullo and senior freestyler Matt Lenton, who took first in the one-meter springboard and 50-meter freestyle, respectively, to continue their hot streaks.
The two men dashed and dove their way into the record books last Saturday at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center, with Lenton’s new school record of 19.84 seconds in the 50 free and Marzullo’s pool record on the three-meter springboard with his 421.30 score.
Missouri swims its first of two meets against Big Ten schools this month before returning home for the Missouri Grand Prix and the Big 12 Championships.
Women’s squad favorite in weekend meet versus OSU, Missouri
The women’s swimming and diving team heads into its third meet of a four-meet home stand Saturday, facing Ohio State and Missouri.
The Hoosiers rank as the Big Ten’s second-best program behind Minnesota and aim to keep things tight with the Golden Gophers with a solid showing against conference rival Ohio State.
Honored recently as the Big Ten Diver of the Week for a league-record ninth time, senior diver Christina Loukas and her teammates are joined by transfers freshman Alyssa Vavra and senior Christine Shehorn. Vavra, a transfer from Virginia, competes in the breaststroke and individual medley, while Purdue transfer Shehorn focuses on freestyle.
“We hope they will add a little depth to our team, but it takes a while to move in with a team,” IU coach Ray Looze said. “We are trying to be reasonable.”
Looze said he believes those two could be factors in the future.
No. 23 Missouri hopes to make waters rough for No. 11 IU, and it has the weapons to do it.
At the Mizzou Invitational last month, the Tigers’ 200-meter relay team and senior 200-meter free swimmer Lori Halvorson broke school records.
Ohio State finished the first half of the season with mixed results. The Buckeyes gave a mediocre performance at the Ohio State Invitational, but posted wins in all four head-to-head meets.
“We lost to Missouri last year, so we know not to take them lightly,” senior Caitlin Heyman said.
“We want to take any opportunity to prepare for the Big Ten Championships,” Heyman said about their matchup with Ohio State.
Track and Field
IU continues season with Indiana Invitational
The Hoosiers will stay in their familiar surroundings this week when they host the Indiana Invitational at Harry Gladstein Fieldhouse.
The meet begins 11 a.m. Saturday with the women’s weight throw.
IU is coming off a successful home meet that saw them win nine events.
One of those wins was by senior Tiffany Howard, who won the shot put with a throw of 15.83 meters and was named Big Ten Player of the Week.
Howard said the award means a lot because it shows she is performing strongly.
“I am excited about the Big Ten award because I wanted to start the season on a big note,” she said. “I never have won this award before, so I am excited about it.”
In terms of the competition this week, the Hoosiers will get a preview of the Big Ten Championships as Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State and rival Purdue compete. Big East team South Florida will also be at the meet.
IU coach Ron Helmer said despite better competition, the Hoosiers have already competed in a meet this year, preparing them for the strengthened field of teams.
“It should be a higher-quality meet this week,” Helmer said. “With that said, we will perform as if we have a week of competition under our belt, so we should perform better (than last week).”
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