Two seems to be a lucky number when it comes to IU’s swimming and diving teams.
In the first two weeks of the season, the Hoosiers had two swimmers named Big Ten Swimmer of the week – twice.
Junior freestyler Titus Knight received the honor two times for the men’s team and senior backstroker Kate Fesenko accomplished the same feat on the women’s side.
Knight’s most recent meet took place in his hometown of Austin, Texas, where the swimming and diving team (1-1) fell to Texas 149-179.
Knight still had a stellar performance in a crowd that included his family and friends.
He remained undefeated in his main event, the 200-meter freestyle, with a time of 1:37.91. He took second in the 100-meter freestyle and the 500-meter freestyle.
Knight also contributed in a 200-meter freestyle relay victory.
With the Hoosiers off until Nov. 20, Knight has time to think about what being undefeated might mean.
“I just try to swim as hard as I can and as fast as I can every single race,” he said. “Being undefeated has no real impact on me.”
The positive early start has Knight anticipating what he could do before the season ends.
“It makes me real excited about what I’m capable of doing,” he said.
Fesenko can relate to Knight’s excitement about early season successes.
She, too, had an excellent meet in Austin, where the women’s swimming and diving team (2-1) competed in a dual meet. They beat Michigan 251-174 but lost to Texas 222-162.
She has the fastest time in the NCAA in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke. In Austin, she finished with a time of 53.30 in the 100 back and 1:55.56 in the 200 back.
Even though the backstroke might be her strength, the versatile swimmer also placed second in the 200-meter individual medley and the 100-meter butterfly.
In her relay competitions, she helped her team to second place in the 200- and 400-meter free relays and a third-place finish in the 200-meter free relay.
Although it might seem like a lot of events, Fesenko said she enjoys contributing to the team in many different ways.
“I feel the most pressure in my main events,” she said. “The rest is just mostly fun for me.”
Early success will not keep Fesenko from her season goal.
“The main focus for me is to go to the NCAA tournament and to help my team win another Big Ten title,” she said.
Described by assistant head coach Pam Swander as mentally tough, Fesenko also brings a unique leadership ability to the team. She gets that from competing in World Championships with Ukraine.
“What Kate brings is her experience,” Swander said. “The knowledge of the sport that she shares with the women’s team is invaluable.”
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