On the first day of competition, in a long course meter program, IU men fell to Florida, 157-143, and lost to former NCAA Champions Texas, 201-98. For the women’s side, IU won against Florida, 159-139, but fell to Texas, 168-130.
The women’s victory against the Gators is the first time the IU swimming and diving program has ever beaten Florida.
“The whole coaching staff, including myself, was very pleased with the team’s performances this weekend,” IU Coach Ray Looze said. “We exceeded our expectations for the weekend and were very happy with the women getting the win over Florida. That was huge.”
On Saturday for the short-course meet, the men were defeated by Florida, 140-122, and Texas, 154-108. The women won against Florida again, 159-139, but lost to Texas, 168-130.
“We are proud of our team for going in with a competitive attitude,” Looze said. “If anything we got better on Saturday and proved we could go out and hang in there with the high level of competition. For the men, we needed those points at the end with the last relays and the disqualifications hurt us, but that is something we can improve.”
IU swimmers also combined to record 11 NCAA B-cut qualifying times Saturday, with sophomore Blake Pieroni in the 100 and 200 freestyle, sophomore Marie Chamberlain in the 100 back, freshmen Lilly King and Miranda Tucker in the 100 and 200 breast, senior Tanner Kurz in the 100 breast, junior Gia Dalesandro in the 100 and 200 butterfly and sophomore Ali Khalafalla in the 50 free.
The women’s team of Chamberlain, King, Dalesandro and sophomore Grace Vertigans set an aggressive attitude for the day by winning the first event of the meet Friday in the 200 LCM medley relay, with a time of 1:57.09.
Then on Saturday, they continued to start off strong, placing first again in the 200-yard medley relay with Chamberlain, King, Dalesandro and sophomore Gabriela Rajic in a time of 1:41.65, beating the top team from Texas by almost a second.
“Winning that first event was a powerful force for our momentum,” Looze said. “It allowed us to start off on a positive note and get the ball rolling. Starting off strong like that is something we need to do consistently.”
Dalesandro took part in six of the team’s wins over the weekend, placing first in the 200 LCM freestyle relay, 200 LCM medley relay, 100 LCM butterfly, 200-yard medley relay, 200-yard butterfly and 100-yard butterfly. Dalesandro also placed second on Friday in the 200 LCM butterfly.
Pieroni also had a big impact for the Hoosiers, taking part in four wins for the men’s team in the 200 LCM freestyle, 100 LCM freestyle, 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle. Pieroni placed third Friday in the 200 LCM IM and 200 LCM freestyle relay as well.
Pieroni was also part of the 400-yard freestyle relay, along with junior Anze Tavcar, sophomore Oliver Patrouch and Khalafalla, which was disqualified due to an early takeoff. This prevented the men from tying with Florida at the end, Looze said.
Friday, junior Joshua Arndt had third place finishes on the 1- and 3-meter platforms to lead the men’s diving team. His diving scores of 338.95 and 397.00 are NCAA-qualifying scores.
“We matched up really well against the good competition we saw this weekend,” Looze said. “Now, there’s no taking our foot off the accelerator. Short-term, I think IU will be viewed on a much higher level and hopefully that is something we can build on. We have a challenging schedule but it just gives us another reason to get back out there and work hard.”
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