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Hoosiers place 10th in championships



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IU senior diver Christina Loukas practices a dive off of a one-meter springboard during a practice Feb. 26 at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center. Loukas was recently selected to the USA Diving 2009 World Championships team. James Brosher Buy Photos

In its final team meet of the season, the No. 13 IU women’s swimming and diving team placed 10th in this weekend’s NCAA Swim and Dive Championships at College Station, Texas. 

The Hoosiers accumulated 152 points, the program’s highest point total in an NCAA meet. With 411.5 points, No. 9 California took first, closely trailed by No. 2 Georgia and defending champion No. 4 Arizona. 

Led by senior Christina Loukas’ NCAA Championship-winning performance on the 3-meter springboards, IU had eight individual and three relay All-American winners.
“I’m so happy we brought such a powerful and large team,” IU coach Ray Looze said. “We’re hungry people and are aggressive and want more regardless of how we do. I’m happy for the girls who worked really hard. Even though at times the meet was a bit rocky for us, the girls responded to adversity really well.”

IU qualified 13 swimmers and three divers for the meet, which is the most women the team has ever taken to the NCAA Championships. 

In her third NCAA Championship, Loukas claimed her first title, shattering the NCAA record on the 3-meter springboard with a score of 437.75, 16.85 more than the former record. She also placed second on the 1-meter springboard and 11th on the platform. Loukas was also named the NCAA Diver of the Year.

The Hoosiers began the meet on a shaky foot, claiming 12th place after the first day, but then slid up to 10th after the second day. 

“It started off a bit rocky. We had some performances that we weren’t real happy or satisfied with,” Looze said.

A strong conclusion Saturday night, led by exemplary senior performances, cemented IU’s top 10 finish. Senior captains Allison Kay and Sarah Stockwell earned All-American accolades in the 1650-meter freestyle and the 200-meter breast stroke, respectively, with sixth and 12th place finishes. 

“Since I’m a senior, it was the last meet ever in my swimming career, and I gave it all I had,” Kay said. “Since it was the last meet, it was different. I guess it counted more in my eyes.”

Kay’s time of 15:56.50 in the 1650-meter freestyle is a school record.

Looze said he was pleased with the championship’s conclusion.

“We finished as a team,” he said. “We started the meet as individuals for whatever reason, but finished as a team. When they came together as a team, they were really, really good. That is what I will remember about this season.

“You have to put aside your personal agendas and get behind what everyone is doing collectively. When they did that, they were really special.”

The Hoosiers, having accomplished their preseason goals of a conference title and an NCAA top 10 finish, now look to the program’s future.

“I know our goal coming in was top five or seven,” freshman Margaux Farrell said. “I think we definitely proved we are a top 10 program. Next year will be the same thing. We want to be up there in those single-digit numbers.”

Kay showed optimism as well.

“Every year we have progressed. Last year we finished 10th – the year before 11th,” she said. “This year there were three freshmen in NCAAs. There will be even more next year.”

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