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Saturday, March 2
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

IU readies for Winter Nationals

The IU men’s and women’s swim teams will compete at the 2013 USA Swimming Winter National Championships this weekend in Knoxville, Tenn.

The teams will send 32 Hoosiers to the meet, while the remaining swimmers will compete at the local Winter Invitational at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center.
To qualify, each swimmer needed to meet the Winter National cut time qualification.

“This will be the last opportunity for us, either here or down at Winter Nationals, to post some times and really see where we’re at,” IU Coach Ray Looze said.

The Hoosiers are coming off a month of training without competition. Looze said it has been a great opportunity for the team to focus on phase one of its training.

“We’ve had just a lot of uninterrupted training most importantly,” he said. “We’ve been working on our mental toughness and the ability to swim fast while in heavy training.”

Junior swimmer Joe Powell said the team is mentally preparing to get back into competition mode.

“We’ve been training really hard the month of November,” he said. “Everyone’s swimming really fast, so we’re coming down a little bit and making sure that we’re more focused on this meet rather than on volume.”

Leading the way for the Hoosiers at Winter Nationals will be national team members and seniors Cody Miller and Lindsay Vrooman and junior Steve Schmuhl.

Primarily a distance swimmer, Vrooman will be the third seed in the 500-meter and 1,650-meter freestyle. She is also the seventh seed in the 200-meter freestyle.

Miller is the top seed in the 200-meter breaststroke and 200-meter individual medley, as well as the second seed in the 100-meter breaststroke. Schmuhl enters the meet as the third seed in the 400-meter IM and seventh seed in the 200-meter IM.

For Looze, the team’s goal going into this weekend is clear.

“We want to swim really, really fast and make a nice statement to USA swimming that we’re continuing to improve as a program,” he said.

Other top swimmers for IU include senior backstrokers Eric Ress and James Wells and sophomore Brooklynn Snodgrass. Senior Bronwyn Pasloski will lead the women in the breaststroke, senior Brenna MacLean in the butterfly, and sophomore Haley Lips in the freestyle.

The Hoosiers will face off against top programs such as Michigan, Tennessee and Louisville.

In the College Swimming Coaches Association of America, the men’s team is currently ranked ninth, and the women are No. 14.

This weekend the team hopes to see where it stands among the some of the best teams in the country.

“I think it’ll be a good gage of where we are,” Powell said. “When we get a lot of fast swimming in the middle of the season, it helps us get really excited for the end of the season. That way, during the last two months before Big Tens, we always put in a lot of good work, especially after a good winter meet.”

Follow reporter Grace Palmieri on Twitter @gpalmieri7.

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