Swim and dive teams provide Olympians


IU diver Jessica Parratto dives in the women's 10-meter event Sunday at the IUPUI Natatorium. Parratto took first in the event and qualified for the Olympics. IDS file photo and Bari Goldman Buy Photos

IU Athletics has had 223 Olympic berths for athletes, coaches and judges, and 130 of those have come from the men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs.

In the 2016 Olympics, 17 Hoosiers represented seven countries in seven sports. Eleven of those athletes represented their various home countries as well as the IU swimming and diving program — James Connor, Amy Cozad, Kennedy Goss, Marwan El Kamash, Lilly King, Michael Hixon, Ali Khalafalla, Cody Miller, Jessica Parratto, Blake Pieroni and Anze Tavcar.

Their coaches, Drew Johansen and Ray Looze, also had spots on the Team USA coaching staff as head coach and assistant coach, respectively. Their representation only continues the history of IU swimming and diving’s contribution to Olympic teams for not only the U.S. but 16 other countries as well.

Of the IU Olympians’ 55 gold medals, 39 were from swimmers and divers. Ten of 17 silvers, as well as 20 of 32 bronze medals, were from Hoosier swimmers and divers.

Seven of the Hoosiers’ gold medals came from Mark Spitz in the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, when he won seven events. Spitz had the record for most gold medals won by a single athlete in a single Olympic Game until Michael Phelps won eight medals in the 2008 Beijing games.

Most recently, Lilly King nabbed two gold medals in the 2016 Rio de Janiero games before starting her sophomore year at IU, and alumnus Cody Miller grabbed a gold and a bronze with Team USA.

On the coaching and judging side, swimming coach James “Doc” Counsilman, who coached the Hoosiers from 1957 to 1990, and diving coach Hobie Billingsley, who coached the Hoosiers from 1959 to 1989, both led Team USA to Olympic titles.

Counsilman coached both the 1964 and 1976 U.S. Olympic teams. In that time, he coached 48 medalists, with 17 of them earning gold medals.

Billingsley not only coached the 1968 and 1972 U.S. Olympics teams but also the Austrian teams in 1976 and 1980 and Danish teams in 1980. In the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, he was a judge in the diving competition.

Today, the aquatics center in the Student Recreational Sports Center is named for coach Counsilman and coach Billingsley.

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