The undefeated IU men's swimming and diving team will compete at the three-day IU Invitational against top-ranked North Carolina State, Louisville, Arizona State and Southern Methodist University at home Thursday.
“I’m expecting this to be the premier invitational for the fall semester,” IU Coach Ray Looze said. “It’s going to be a great show at the Counsilman Billingsley Aquatic Center.”
With multiple moving parts to this upcoming tournament, here are three things to know.
1. Redshirt senior James Connor is still undefeated on his diving events this season.
From being labeled a “stud” and a “pro” by his coaches to dominating this at the ACC/Big Ten Challenge last weekend on the 3-meter dive, Connor is a force to be reckoned with and will play a key role in the team’s success at the tournament.
At the challenge, Connor scored a 429.35 in his 3-meter dive — a score that was 28 points above his second place Big Ten teammate.
2. Seniors Vini Lanza and Ian Finnerty along with junior Mohamed Samy have combined for 15 individual event wins.
Lanza is blowing past opponents on the 100- and 200-butterfly. His recent time of 1:42.67 on the 200-butterfly at the ACC/Big Ten Challenge was the fastest in the nation this year and caused other Big Ten coaches to push for Looze to place him in the 400-relay.
Both Finnerty and Samy have also played key roles in IU’s 5-0 start to the year. On top of taking part in multiple relay victories together, Finnerty’s 100- and 200-breaststroke against the No. 1 Texas Longhorns and the ACC were NCAA B cut worthy and significant factors in IU’s success. Samy’s recent dominance on the 50 and 100 freestyle at the ACC/Big Ten swim and dive challenge also impressed coaches with his NCAA B cut performances.
3. The Hoosiers have five relay victories.
In addition to an 800-freestyle and a 200-medley relay win with members of other Big Ten schools, IU has executed well on relays this year. The team has won the 200-medley and the 400-freestyle relay twice and has also won the 400-medley. Additionally, IU consistently placed in the top three for relay events on the road and at home.
“Whatever it takes to get your hand on the wall and win, they just do it,” Looze said.
Swimming prelims will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday, while the diving prelims start at 10:30 a.m. The swimming finals of each day will begin at 5 p.m. and the diving at 5:30 p.m.
There will be A, B and C Finals for each event with only the A and B relays being scored. Athletes in the top-24 earn points for their respective teams.
“Sometimes we don’t even think of what the times mean,” Looze said. “We do what it takes to win, and that’s what’s so impressive about this team.”
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