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Tuesday, Feb. 27
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Swimming and diving finishes strong at Winter Nationals

On the final day of competition, a silver, bronze and 400-meter relay school record closed out the USA Winter Nationals in Knoxville, Tenn., for IU swimming.

Senior Lindsay Vrooman took silver in the 1,650-meter freestyle and sophomore Brooklynn Snodgrass won bronze in the 200-meter backstroke.

Vrooman went head-to-head against 16-year-old Olympic Gold Medalist Katie Ledecky in the 1,650-meter freestyle. Ledecky shattered the meet record by almost 10 seconds. With a second-place finish, Vrooman still earned the third fastest time in IU history (15 minutes and 54.68 seconds) and an NCAA A-cut, which means she automatically qualifies for the NCAA Championships.

She said the level of competition the team faced this weekend will be helpful later in the season.

“There’s just a lot of outside competition like Cal and a lot of other non-college athletes are here, so it really gives us a chance to see where we’re at,” Vrooman said. “It gives us a variety of people to race against, and it’s kind of an atmosphere like NCAAs, so I think that helps us get prepared for Big Tens and NCAAs down the road.”

In the mile, sophomore Haley Lips finished 10th in her first swim in the event. In the 200-meter backstroke, Snodgrass took third place with a time of one minute and 52.64 seconds, another NCAA A-cut.

“I think we had kind of a slower start to the meet, but we finished well, so it was nice to come together as a team on the last day,” Snodgrass said.

To close out the three-day meet, senior Kait Flederbach, junior Cynthia Pammett, senior Stephanie Armstrong and Snodgrass posted a school record in the 400-meter freestyle relay. They finished fourth with a time of three minutes and 16.72 seconds, an NCAA qualifying time.

Other top finishes for the women included senior Bronwyn Pasloski’s fifth-place in the 200-meter breaststroke championship final. She clocked in with a -season-best time of one minute and 0.2 seconds.

Senior Brenna MacLean was fourth in the 200-meter butterfly, posting the fifth-fastest time in school history. Freshman Gia Dalesandro finished sixth.

IU Coach Ray Looze left Knoxville satisfied with how his women’s team performed.

“We just swam great from the start of the meet to the finish, so overall we were really pleased,” he said. “We went up against some of the better teams in the NCAA. Cal Berkley has easily got the best team in the country, and we stood up well against them I thought.”

On the men’s side, senior Eric Ress placed fourth in the 200-meter backstroke. He just missed an NCAA A-cut with a season-best time of 1:41.58. In the same event, junior Steve Schmuhl was 10th overall and senior James Wells was 13th.

Senior Cody Miller finished sixth in the 200-meter breaststroke. Schmuhl won the consolation final of the 200-meter butterfly to place ninth overall.

Looze was impressed with the way his older guys competed.

“I was really pleased with James Wells. I thought he had a fantastic meet. Eric Ress and Cody Miller finished very strong today, as did Steve Schmuhl,” he said.

Although the team struggled acclimating to the high-level competition to begin the meet, Looze said he thought they finished strong.

“You have to be an experienced swimmer to have a lot of success at this competition, whether it’s Lindsay Vrooman in the mile or Eric Ress in the 200 back tonight,” he said.

On Friday, both teams combined had seven top-eight finishes. Both the men’s and women’s teams finished fourth overall. Snodgrass is encouraged with where they are at the halfway point of the season.

“I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people at Big Tens,” she said. “We weren’t even rested for this meet, so people can expect even more from us in the future.”

Follow swimming and diving reporter Grace Palmieri on Twitter @gpalmieri7.

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