Fighting through illnesses and opening day nerves, the IU men’s swim and dive team defeated Notre Dame, Kentucky and Missouri for their 25th consecutive dual-meet victory Wednesday.
The No. 3 Hoosiers beat the No. 23 Fighting Irish 213-87, Wildcats 219-79 and No. 22 Tigers 193.5-106.5 at home to start the year 3-0.
“We weren’t as sharp as I would have hoped,” said IU Coach Ray Looze. “They didn’t use any excuses, and we have some really top level athletes that did their job to get the W.”
Leading the way with two victories a piece for the swimmers were senior Ian Finnerty, junior Vini Lanza and sophomore Bruno Blaskovic.
Finnerty placed first in the 100 and 200 yard breaststroke with times of 53.88 seconds and 2:01.15 seconds, respectively. Lanza took first in the 100 and 200 butterfly events with times of 48.04 seconds and 1:04.
Blaskovic won the 50 and 100 yard freestyle with a finish of 20.15 seconds in the first event and 44.67 in the next. Along with his satisfaction for Finnerty, Looze said that Blaskovic and Lanza stood out very well in the four-way competition.
“I was really happy to see Bruno’s development," Looze said. "He’s a really good swimmer. Vinni is a guy that leads by example with a good attitude and big goals for 2020.”
With a team that also included sophomore Gabriel Fantoni, Lanza, Finnerty and Blaskovic set the record for the nation’s best 200 medley relay this season with a time of 1:26.92.
At the other side of the Counsilman Billingsley Aquatic Center, all coaches agreed to just three dives per event rather than six. Despite the change, Diving Coach Drew Johansen watched as four IU divers landed among the top-five finishers.
“We had a good showing,” he said. “They only used a partial list, which was a good test for them because there’s no room for error.”
Senior James Connor led the way for IU with victories in the 1 and 3-meter dive with scores of 193.80 and 208.40 points.
“It’s encouraging for myself and for everyone on the team as far as where we were today,” Connor said. “We’re dusting the cobwebs off after a long summer break and envisioning our progression through the rest of the season.”
In addition to his first place finishes, Connor said he was proud of the team’s young talent like sophomore Andrew Capobianco, the runner-up in each of the diving events.
“We had an incredibly strong showing for Cap and all the boys really,” Connor said. “It was fun to be back out diving in competition with the crowd and everything.”
IU will look to continue its undefeated streak when the team travels to Austin to compete against No. 1 Texas and No. 8 Florida next weekend. Coach Looze said that the rust is shaken off and the team is ready for this upcoming challenge.
“Texas and Florida are the cream of the crop,” he said. “We believe in going against the best.”