The key this week for IU is simple: swim fast and dive well.
The team will travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to compete in the Big Ten Championships beginning today. Over the next four days, preliminary heats will take place in the morning, followed by finals.
The Hoosiers are looking to improve last year’s second place performance, IU Coach Ray Looze said.
“It’s just part of what we do,” Looze said. “We want to keep getting better. We’re seeded third, but our goal is to get ourselves in a position to control the outcome and do better than that.”
No. 3 Michigan will be the toughest competition for No. 13 IU in their quest for a Big Ten title. Other nationally ranked top-25 teams in the conference include Wisconsin, Ohio State, Purdue, Minnesota and Penn State.
In 2015, Minnesota brought home first, beating IU by just 27.5 points. Michigan finished in third place.
“Depth will be the key for us,” Looze said. “We have to have a high percentage of personal bests. We know our best athletes can score, but now we need new people to show up and help us overcome our imperfections. We need as many athletes as possible to really step up and improve.”
IU will be bringing 27 athletes to compete in the meet, including 2015 Big Ten Champions junior Gia Dalesandro, sophomore Kennedy Goss, senior Haley Lips and sophomore Grace Vertigans.
Dalesandro was first in the 200 butterfly and Goss will compete in the 200 and 500 freestyle. After a short break following IU’s win against Louisville, the women’s team has started tapering its training.
“We were in a little bit of a resting process,” Looze said. “We’ve started sharpening bodies to set up for peak performances. It’s a little bit of fewer reps, less volume and less frequency. But we’re swimming faster and really emphasizing fundamentals.”
In the last seven seasons, IU has placed either first or second. This year as the high expectations continue, the Hoosiers hope to compete to add another first place team finish to their collection.
“We want to come in strong,” Looze said. “We are going to bring the mentality to come in and give ourselves a chance to do what people think we aren’t capable of.”
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