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IU takes on Auburn before Big Ten competition



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Diver Joshua Arndt goes into his fifth dive of the three-meter competition on Friday at Counsilman Billingsley Aquatic Center. Arndt competed with Cody Coldren and nine other divers in the quad meet. Katelyn Rowe and Katelyn Rowe Buy Photos

The IU men’s swimming and diving team is out to defend its win last season against Auburn, while the women said they hope to avenge their 16-point loss.

Last year the Hoosier men were victorious against the Tigers, 149-91, and the women lost, 129-113. On Saturday, the teams say they hope to return from the dual meet with two wins.

“The men are ready for us,” IU Coach Ray Looze said. “The loss last year didn’t sit well with Auburn. For the women, we want to get revenge for last season’s loss. We ended up better than them at the end of the season, and I felt like we were the better team.”

Last weekend, the men defeated Tennessee and Kentucky but lost to North Carolina, keeping IU in the No. 9 spot. The women beat Kentucky but fell to Tennessee and North Carolina, moving them up to No. 5 this week.

“It was a little bit of a quick turn around, but our training has been great,” Looze said. “Auburn has had a light schedule so far, so they will be more than ready to go.”

The Auburn men are ranked No. 7, and the women sit at No. 6. This will be the toughest dual meet IU has had so far, Looze said.

“We still haven’t been getting the consistency we need,” Looze said. “We talk about it a lot in practice that how you train is how you will perform. Our goal is to get better with every competition. We should not come out of a meet where we did not improve.”

IU’s demanding schedule against top-10 teams has been a big advantage, senior Tanner Kurz said.

“We have a really young team who might not have known how to race this level of competition,” Kurz said. “Our tough schedule gives the younger people a chance to learn how to race and how important it is to get a hand on the wall first.”

Traveling to Auburn will be another tough test for the Hoosiers before they begin getting into their Big Ten schedule, as the Tigers’ men and women defeated Alabama earlier in the season.

“They will be a tough team to face because they are protecting their home turf,” Kurz said. “We have to go in there bringing an aggressive mentality. We’re ready. Going off of a good performance last weekend allows us to keep the same mindset.”

IU swimmers and divers have continued to get better as the season progresses, but they aren’t even close to being satisfied yet, freshman Miranda Tucker said.

“Everyone has gotten so much faster than I expected,” Tucker said. “I think that’s because of the good competition we’ve been facing. We have to perform well. Dual meets have a much tighter competition so we just have to go out there and try to match times, get faster and go all out if we want to compete with them.”

This week in practice, IU has been focusing on the details. In addition to the sprinters’ improving, they need to win one or two relays and improve on exchanges and splits, Looze said.

“The relays will be some of our biggest events,” Kurz said. “We’ve been focusing on the little things. Any short mess-up could cost us the race, cost our team points and even cost us the meet.”

With the success they have had so far, IU shows no signs of backing down. The intensity is high and will remain that way all season, Looze said.

“The plan we’re focused on is following our goals, ultimately the end result, toward the end of the season,” Looze said. “We have our work cut out for us, but we are more than capable of handling the pressure.”

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