Blake Pieroni named to Team USA


Sophomore Blake Pieroni leads IU in a cheer before the start of the Big Ten Championship meet Saturday evening at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. Pieroni went on to win the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 42.27, followed closely by junior Anza Tavcar and sophomore Ali Khalafalla who both placed second and third, respectfully. Noble Guyon and Noble Guyon Buy Photos

It took 40 years for the Hoosiers to have a swimmer named to Team USA.

That all changed within the span of a few days with three Hoosiers earning spots on Team USA after their performances at the Olympics Trials in Omaha, Nebraska.

Rising junior Blake Pieroni became the third IU swimmer to qualify for the Olympics.

Pieroni was named to the team as a part of the men’s 4X100 meter freestyle relay. It took Pieroni’s career best swim for him to be able to earn his spot.

In the final of the men’s 100-meter freestyle, Pieroni placed sixth overall with a time of 48.78, which was the fastest time of his career.

“The Hoosier nation is so humbled to have Blake Pieroni to be the third swimmer to make the U.S. Olympic team at the 2016 Trials,” IU Coach Ray Looze said in a press release. “His selection caps off a truly fantastic week for our swimming teams. The opportunity to swim on the 400-meter freestyle relay team for the United States of America will, without question, bring out the best in Blake. He is such a fantastic relay swimmer and we are so very excited to see what he can do for his country in Rio.”

Pieroni had a successful sophomore year at IU as he earned five All-America honors at the 2016 NCAA Championships.

Pieroni finished 10th in the 100-meter freestyle at the NCAA Championships and was on the 400-meter freestyle relay that placed fourth at the NCAA 

Pieroni has experience competing internationally as he earned silver medals in the 100-meter and the 200-meter freestyle at the 2014 Junior Pan Pacific Championships. He is also a three-time junior nationals qualifier and two-time member of the junior national team.

Pieroni joins freshman Lilly King and alumnus Cody Miller as Hoosier swimmers competing for Team USA.

King completed a sweep of the breaststroke events when she led wire-to-wire in the 200-meter breaststroke.

“It is incredibly difficult to be a double winner at this meet,” Looze said in a release. “I thought Lilly showed tremendous fortitude and determination on the last 50 when she was challenged. If there’s one thing that has become abundantly clear, Lilly hates to lose and loves to win.”

King became the first Hoosier swimmer to win multiple events at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials since Mark Spitz and Gary Hall in 1972. She also became the first U.S. swimmer to win both the 100- and the 200-breaststroke events at the trials since 2004.

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