Three of the four were ranked in the nation’s top five.
Those three teams swept the top three spots at last year’s NCAA Championships.
The Hoosiers will face two of them this weekend when IU swimming and diving travels to Ann Arbor for a quad meet with Michigan, Texas and Louisville.
Last year, Texas was the NCAA runner-up, and Michigan finished third in the country, while IU was 10th.
The Longhorns have been runner-up at the NCAA Championships in three of the past four years.
It’ll be the toughest competition IU sees until the post-season, senior Mike Hurley said. It’ll also be the best ?preparation they get for Big Tens and NCAAs.
“Going against competition that’s above and beyond your level is something that’s a lot better for you to develop,” he said. “When you’re able to understand how to prepare, how to handle situations under pressure and be able to perform under that stress really prepares you for situations with that big crowd.”
The Hoosiers split their season opener two weeks ago against Auburn with the men winning easily 149-91 and women falling 126-113.
Looze said the extra week allowed for additional training without having to prepare for a meet, something they hope to have more of in the future by scheduling fewer meets with more time ?in between.
IU has just one meet in the month of November.
“That’ll allow us to put in a lot of good training, and we’ll be able to see a lot of ?adaptations to the body in that time, which is good in our sport,” Looze said.
This weekend, it’s a dual-meet format spread across two days of swimming. The meet begins at 6 p.m. Friday and continues at 10 a.m. ?Saturday.
The teams will also swim one extra relay. Against better teams, the relays are crucial, Hurley said. In IU’s meet with Auburn last weekend, the Hoosiers won the 400-medley relay at the beginning of the meet, momentum that carried the rest of the day.
Hurley said that’s where his team needs to be the best.
“The turning point is going to be the relays,” he said. “I definitely think we’re going to give them a run for their money or even beat them for that matter, but I think that’s where the meet is going to ?be decided.”
Michigan, Texas and Louisville are a combined 5-0 ?this season.
As it’s the kind of competition the Hoosiers will see during championship season, Looze expects the other teams to treat it as just that.
While IU would only rest before a post-season competition, Looze said Michigan will most likely have rested for a full week for this regular-season meet.
“Michigan has a tendency to really prepare for this,” he said. “They’re kind of known for that. They tend to value that dual meet highly. It’s just their institutional way.”
Hurley said no matter the outcome this weekend, facing the nation’s best talent is how they’re going to be ready come March.
“It kind of almost battle-hardens you for situations in the future,” he said. “When the chips are down, you learn how to make things happen. That’s the sort of mentality you’re going to need when you go into Big Tens or NCAAs.”