Final home meet brings challenge for swimmers

Fresh off its sweep last Saturday against Purdue on live television, the IU men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams face yet another tough challenge.

In their second home meet of the year, the Hoosiers will swim against Louisville on Saturday at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center.

This season, the Cardinals boast a men’s team ranked No. 12 in the nation and a women’s team ranked No. 24. With this being the last dual meet of the season, IU Coach Ray Looze said they cannot overlook the Louisville squad.

“Louisville is a really, really good team,” Looze said. “I think they’re a pretty similar team to us, and they heavily invest in swimming, as you can tell from where they are in the national rankings, so we’re going to have to be really sharp if we’re going to walk away on the positive end of the equation.”

For the No. 11 men’s team, last Saturday’s meet against Purdue was a wake-up call. Though the Hoosiers began with a significant lead against the Boilermakers, Purdue came back.

The Hoosiers ended the meet with a 32-point victory. For Indiana, making sure Louisville does not stage a comeback will be important.

To ensure that, the swimmers and divers will have to compete at a very high level, said IU junior diver Zac Nees.

“Going into the meet, we knew Purdue was stronger toward the middle of the meet, so our strategy was to get out to an early lead and try to hold that lead throughout the rest of the meet,” Nees said.

“As for Louisville, I am not sure about all the swimming events, but diving’s goal is to get another 1-2-3 finish on 1-meter and 1-2-3-4 finish on 3-meter in order to help ease the pressure on the swimmers.”

After Saturday’s 169-130 victory against Purdue — though it was actually 201-99 before exhibitioning events changed the results — IU’s women’s team finally seemed to be back on track after a three-point loss at Michigan.

Facing a Louisville team that has lost only one dual meet all season, though senior Margaux Farrell said the Hoosiers will have to swim at a high level to beat Louisville, despite yet another intense week of practice.

“This is going to be just another one of those meets where we have to buckle down and try to swim fast while being tired,” Farrell said. “We literally never rest for dual meets, and we obviously always want to win, but we will not sacrifice training for Big Ten’s and NCAA’s in order to do so.”

After Saturday’s meet, the men will be off for two weeks until the Ohio State Winter Invitational. The team will participate in the Big Ten Championships only a week and a half after that.

Though it is still nearly a month away, the looming competition is fresh in the Hoosiers’ minds.

For now, though, it’s Saturday’s meet against the Louisville squad that is the team’s true priority, Looze said.

“We’re definitely focused on the Big Ten’s — we always are — but Louisville is one of the best dual meet teams in the country,” Looze said.

“We’re going to have to be at our best, there’s no doubt about it. We’re just going to go toe-to toe with them, and it’s going to be a street fight. That’s what we’re expecting.”

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