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Swimming and diving sweeps Purdue on senior day

vini lanza1

Then-freshman butterfly swimmer Vinicius Lanza, now a junior, competes during the 200-yard butterfly in 2016 at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. Noble Guyon Buy Photos

Saturday afternoon marked senior day for the IU swimming and diving team as they took on rival Purdue at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center in Bloomington. 

It was an enjoyable senior day for all Hoosiers as both the men and women defeated their rivals from West Lafayette, Indiana. 

The No. 3 IU men preserved their undefeated 8-0 record this season and extended their dual-meet win streak to 21 with a 206-92 win over the Boilermakers. The No. 7 IU women, who entered the duel with a 4-4 record, also dominated Purdue by winning 176-123. 

One of the surprising aspects of the meet was the crowd at the aquatic center. The fans provided a loud home-crowd environment for the Hoosiers, and IU Coach Ray Looze said he loved it. 

“The atmosphere was unbelievable, it was a standing-room-only crowd,” Looze said. “It was like a 12th man for us today.”

The seniors fed off that crowd during their final home meet at IU. Senior Blake Pieroni said this meet was unlike any other in his career. 

“I don’t think I’ve ever been to a college dual meet at this pool with this many people, so that was really exciting to see,“ Pieroni said. “Having family here, it makes it more fun.”

Pieroni anchored the Hoosier team in the 200-medley relay and touched the wall first with a time of 1:27.54. 

Fellow senior Ali Rockett also helped the IU women to a win in the 200-medley relay with a time of 1:38.57. Rockett won a couple of events in the 100 backstroke (53.13) and 50 freestyle (23.13).

“These four years flew by. I know everybody says that, but it's really true,” Rockett said. “There was a lot of emotion going into today.”

Looze said he was impressed with how the seniors performed during their final home meet, something he said he didn’t expect. 

“I was really excited about how the senior class swam,” Looze said. “From the women to the men, they really showed up. It was leadership of your veterans that was beyond your expectation.”

One of the non-seniors who made huge contributions was junior Lilly King, who claimed three individual wins. The Evansville, Indiana, native won the 100 breaststroke (1:01.36), 200 breaststroke (2:10.61) and the 200 individual medley (2:01.29). 

All of these Hoosiers helped their teams beat the Boilermakers to have bragging rights within the state of Indiana for another year. 

These two victories put IU ahead of Purdue in the Governors Cup, 4.5-3.5. The award is given out annually to IU or Purdue based on which school has the most victories in various sports. Each sport is awarded one point for a victory over the opponent. 

The Cup is relatively new, with this year being its 13th. IU won the Governors Cup last season and has a 7-4-2 record over Purdue. 

IU has one remaining dual meet , which is on the road against Louisville, before it enters championship season during the middle of February. 

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