Ten swimmers, three alternates and four divers must rise to the occasion this weekend.
The IU men’s swimming and diving team will compete in the 2013 NCAA Championships beginning today and ending Saturday at the IU Natatorium and IU-Purdue University Indianapolis Sports Complex in Indianapolis.
After their performance at the NCAA Zone C Diving Championships, the Hoosiers lead all schools with four diving entries. The diving championships took place March 14-16 in West Lafayette, Ind.
Eric Ress is set to compete in the 100 backstroke, 200 individual medley and the 200 backstroke.
“Personally I’m looking to final in multiple events and be in the mix for top-three finishes,” Ress said. “The depth of the NCAA this season has definitely gotten deeper, and I’m looking forward to racing.”
With the majority of the IU men confident they would grasp invites or at least have the intention of dropping time to get invited, the team was able to construct a solid plan for how to approach conference and NCAAs.
“Diving is also a huge advantage going into the meet,” Ress said. “With four divers, all of whom are able to score, we have a lot more depth in those three events compared to most teams.”
Senior Darian Schmidt finished second on the 1-meter springboard at the Zone C Diving Championships to qualify for NCAAs.
Juniors Conor Murphy and Danton Rogers went 1-2 in the platform event to qualify, while Emad Abdelatif earned his first trip to the NCAAs after placing fourth on the 1-meter.
Murphy finished the 2013 Big Ten Championships with a Big Ten title in the platform and a new school record.
On the other hand, the Hoosiers may have a disadvantage or two.
“A disadvantage might be that we have a lot of young swimmers going, but in the long run it really sets up the team well for future success,” Stephen Schmuhl said.
Schmuhl will be swimming in the 200 individual medley, 400 individual medley and the 200 butterfly.
As the only distance swimmer heading to NCAAs, Schmuhl has spent the past few weeks training alone.
Cody Miller will be a significant threat during the competition. He will be swimming in the 100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke and the 200 individual medley. At the 2013 Big Ten Championships, Miller dominated these events and brought home Big Ten titles in each one.
Although the Hoosiers placed second at the 2013 Big Ten Championships with 664 points, the team hopes to improve upon its performance and take home a NCAA title.
The IU team has big shoes to fill.
From 1968 to 1973, the Hoosiers won the team title, and throughout NCAA history, Hoosiers have won 80 individual and relay NCAA titles.
“The bulk of the hard work this season is over, and the last few weeks are mostly about keeping nerves down, fine-tuning and getting motivated for the week of racing,” Ress said.
Tune into ESPN3 Live Streaming Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. ET to watch IU throughout the championships.