The road trip up to Minneapolis, Minn., for the Big Ten Championships didn’t seem to adversely affect the IU men swimmers, as they started the meet off in record-breaking fashion Wednesday.
Even though they finished third in the 800-yard freestyle relay, the team of sophomore Eric Ress, senior Titus Knight, junior Cody Weik and sophomore Jim Barbiere broke the IU record for the event by a massive six seconds. Ress opened up the relay by setting an IU individual record for the 200-yard freestyle. The relay time was good enough to qualify all four swimmers for the NCAA Championships.
“We believe that the 200 freestyle is the cornerstone event of any program,” IU coach Ray Looze said. “So to be able to put together a good 800 freestyle relay is a very promising sign.”
The opening event — the 200-yard medley relay — yielded a sixth place finish for the team of freshman James Wells, freshman Cody Miller, Weik and senior Bryan Chovanec.
Looze stressed that the Hoosiers needed to do well during the preliminary races on Thursday and they did just that. Six Hoosiers qualified for finals, leading to four top-five finishes; sophomore Ryan Hinshaw finished fourth in the 500-yard freestyle, followed by Barbiere in fifth. Ress touched the wall third in the 200-yard individual medley. In the 50-yard freestyle, Chovanec finished fourth.
Sophomore Zac Nees finished second in the 1-meter diving competition, followed by a third place finish in the final event of the night: the 400-yard medley relay.
Through the first five events, the Hoosiers hold onto second place, trailing Michigan 259.5-251. They hold a 68-point lead over defending champion Ohio State.
Finals will take place at 7:30 p.m. both nights.
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