It won’t be the only time Coaches Ray Looze, Drew Johansen and the Hoosiers go to Austin, Texas this season, but it will be the first taste of the pool at the University of Texas for the Hoosiers since 2015.
This season, the National Championships will be in Austin, but No. 6 IU will get to see the pool this weekend in a tri-meet against No. 4 Texas and No. 19 Florida. The meet will take place Friday and Saturday.
“They are the cream of the crop,” Looze said. “We wanted to use this to get an idea of where we stood. Now, we have some good revealing thoughts on what to do with that lineup. It’s harder to go on the road. We’ll need to be healthier and just keep doing what we’re doing.”
The Hoosiers enter the meet with a 2-0-1 record. In the first meet of the season, IU defeated then-No. 15 Missouri, 188-112, in addition to beating then-No. 14 Kentucky. IU tied 150-150 against then-No. 18 Notre Dame.
The breaststroke event was key for the Hoosiers in the victories, as it has been over the past few seasons.
Senior Lilly King dominated the event in the Hoosiers’ opening meet, sweeping the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke. King also took a third event win, swimming as a member of the top finishing 200 yard medley relay team.
King’s 59.74 time in the 100-yard breast stroke is the third fastest time in the nation this season, while freshman Noelle Peplowski has the 10th fastest time in the nation for the same event, at 1:01.81.
The IU relays were stellar as well, sweeping the meet. IU took home victories in the 200-yard medley relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay. IU’s 1:39.09 time in the 200-yard medley relay is the fourth fastest in the nation this season, while the 3:20.69 time in the 400-yard freestyle relay is the nation’s second fastest.
The two other Hoosier victories from the season opening meet came via junior Maria Heitmann and senior Christine Jensen. Heitmann won the 500-yard breaststroke with a time of 4:49.70, which is the sixth fastest in the nation this season. Jensen won the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 53.30, which is also the sixth fastest in the nation.
Florida had a strong start to the season in the back stroke event, with two swimmers leading the way: Emma Ball and Sherridon Dressel. Dressel is the sibling of Florida teammate, and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Caleb Dressel. Ball has the nation’s fifth best time in the 100-yard back stroke, and Dressel has the eighth fastest time in the same event. Ball and Dressel also have top 15 times in the nation for the 50-yard backstroke.
Florida also looks to have two strong swimmers in the 1,000-yard freestyle, with two Gators having times in the top 15 of the nation: Leah Braswell and Taylor Ault. This figures to be a very competitive event for IU, as junior Cassie Jernberg has the nation’s 13th best time in the event.
On the diving side, Florida’s Brooke Madden has the nation’s fourth highest overall score this season on the one meter dive. IU star diver senior Jessica Parratto will likely miss the meet with a neck injury. The IU coaching staff expects her to miss a few weeks in the early parts of the season. IU may be without its next top diver, sophomore Mya Kraeger, in the diving competitions as well. Those two losses put IU at a major disadvantage on the diving boards.
Texas has not yet had a meet this season, but the Longhorns are ranked fourth in the country for good reason. Claire Adams and Evie Pfeifer are the best two swimmers on the Longhorns roster this season.
The Longhorns are especially strong in the distance freestyle events and the backstroke, similar to Florida. Evie Pfeifer finished sixth in the nation last season in the 500-yard freestyle. Teammate Joana Evans figures to make Texas even stronger in the event. Lauren Case and Quinn Carrozza also figure to be swimmers who will compete for spots at the National Championship event.
Carrozza also swims the 200-yard backstroke, but it is all about Adams for the Longhorns when it comes to the backstroke. Adams was in the A final at the National Championships last season for the 100 backstroke.
For IU to win the meet, it will have to dominate in the events where it is strongest —breaststroke and relays. The Hoosiers should be able to pick up points in some of the freestyle events, points that should be crucial, as Texas and Florida battle it out in backstroke events. The meet will begin Friday at 6 p.m., and pick up again at 11 a.m. Saturday morning.