IU swimming and diving falls to Auburn

IU swimming and diving tallied 12 event wins and 16 NCAA divisional qualifying times this weekend, but it wasn’t enough to hold off Auburn.

Both the men’s and women’s teams fell to the Tigers on Saturday, 184.5-115.5 and 169.5-130.5, respectively.

“It was a different meet,” IU Coach Ray Looze said. “Auburn was really ready to go, and we knew they would be. We still have not gotten the consistency we are looking for, and this has been lacking from week to week. People did step up and embrace the competition, and there were a good number of season-best times recorded today.”

For the men’s swimmers, junior Jackson Miller recorded the first win for the Hoosiers in the 1000-meter freestyle. Miller went on to place second in the 500 freestyle as well.

Sophomore Blake Pieroni continued his successful season by taking first again in the 100 freestyle almost a full second ahead of junior Anze Tavcar, who tied for second place. Pieroni and Tavcar also went 1-2 in the 200 freestyle. In the 200 individual medley, Pieroni took home a second-place finish.

In the men’s 100 backstroke, junior Bob Glover placed second. Senior Tanner Kurz recorded two second-place finishes in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. Junior Max Irwin was able to touch the wall for second place in the 200 butterfly.

Sophomore Ali Khalafalla led the Hoosiers with his win in the 50 freestyle. Glover and junior Joseph Lane were able to take second and third, respectively, in the 200 backstroke.

The men finished the meet with the 400 freestyle relay, in which Auburn holds the NCAA record. Tavcar, Khalafalla, sophomore Oliver Patrouch and Pieroni placed second, coming in almost four seconds after the Tigers. After a week of practicing for this event, Looze said he was not satisfied with their performance.

“Our splits and exchanges were not where they needed to be,” Looze said. “We shouldn’t be happy about them, and the slower ones ended up costing us. We’ll get there, but this showed us that we certainly have more to work on.”

On the women’s side, sophomore Kennedy Gross touched the wall first in the 200 freestyle to give the women their first win of the day.

Senior Haley Lips placed second in the event after having just one event in between her third-place finish in the 1000 freestyle. Lips had a close second-place finish in the 500 freestyle in which she lost by less than .08 seconds.

Sophomore Marie Chamberlain tied for first with Auburn in the 100 backstroke. Freshman Lilly King led the Hoosiers in the 100 and 200 breaststroke with two first-place finishes. Junior Gia Dalesandro had three wins in the 100 and 200 butterfly and 200 individual medley.

In the 100 freestyle, sophomore Grace Vertigans touched for third. IU went 2-3 in the 200 backstroke with freshman Shelly Drozda and Chamberlain, respectively.

The 400 freestyle relay team of Vertigans, sophomore Kaitlin Kitchens, Lips and Gross also took second to the Tigers.

“We should have been more aggressive across the board,” Looze said. “Depending on the opponent and the time of the season, you have to be able to reach into your bag of tools and find something to address that level of competition. Our teams have been thrown in front of a number of top-10 teams, and if anything, this allowed us to get some more experience.”

For the divers, sophomore Cody Coldren placed second in the 1-meter, and junior Joshua Arndt took home first in the 3-meter.

Senior diver Lacey Houser won the 1-meter with a score that ranked her as the eighth-best 1-meter diver in school history. Junior Michal Bower followed, placing second in the 1-meter and also taking third in the 3-meter.

“Ultimately, it’s the last ranking that counts,” Looze said. “Our team is working hard. They know — and the coaches know — we still have work to do. We have a long way to get there, but they showed a lot of effort and passion, and I am proud of them for that.”

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