A two-month break may have provided the 14th-ranked Hoosiers a chance to rest and relax after four meets in quick succession to start the season.
Instead, IU came out rusty against the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines and didn’t live up to Head Coach Ray Looze’s expectations, losing 172-128. Looze acknowledged the team's success in a number of events, but he thought getting swept in the 500 freestyle was inexcusable.
Times were relatively slower for the Hoosiers as they came off of a long break. IU’s top swimmers posted some of their worst times of the season, despite still being enough to win events in some cases.
Senior Lilly King swam about eight seconds slower in the 200-yard breaststroke than she did in IU’s last meet before the semester break. King attributed her slower times to not having a taper practice before the meet against Michigan for the slower times.
IU took an early lead in the meet on the 200-yard medley relay and held onto it through the 1,000-yard freestyle. Michigan posted a faster time than IU in the 200-yard medley relay but was disqualified, giving a win to IU’s A relay team, which placed second.
Michigan took the lead in the meet after Siobhan Haughey and Rose Bi finished first and second, respectively, in the 200-yard freestyle. Michigan went up 30-25 and never looked back.
IU didn’t have its usual dominance in the 100 breaststroke. King won, but it wasn’t an easy heat as Michigan’s Miranda Tucker made it close through the first 75 yards. Tucker finished second to steal points from IU and freshman Noelle Peplowski, who finished third.
“For me personally it was a little weird. We haven’t raced in two months,” King said about facing Michigan. “Having a meet on Thursday, and it being the first meet back is a little strange, but also good to race Michigan. They’re a tough team.”
Sophomore Bailey Kovac was a surprise winner in the 200-yard backstroke, and IU did better taking points in the 200-yard breaststroke compared to the 100. IU’s success in the 200-yard backstroke and breaststroke kept the Hoosiers in the meet, but Michigan pulled away with the 500-yard freestyle and the 400-yard freestyle relay.
The Hoosier women had six swimmers win events, highlighted by King winning the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke, as well as the 200-yard medley relay. Laurel Eiber, Morgan Scott and Shelby Koontz round out the top-finishing relay team. Kovac won the 200-yard backstroke.
Senior diver Jessica Parratto showed out in her first full meet back from injury, winning both the 3-meter and 1-meter dive competitions. At the IU Invitational from Nov. 15-17, Parratto returned from a neck injury and won the platform dive competition.
“This is my first springboard meet of the season,” Parratto said. “It’s been a long time coming. I’m very happy to be back.”
It’s taken Parratto months to get back to full strength, and the two-month break appeared to serve her better than anyone else on the team. Parratto, a former Olympian, has been dominant over the course of her career at IU. Finally back on the board, she appears to be her same old self.
IU is now 2-3-1 on the season and will likely fall in the national rankings from their current spot of 14. Looze said the women aren’t a very good dual meet team, and the team’s focus is on Big Ten’s and peaking for the national championships, which IU already has swimmers qualified for.
The next meet for the Hoosiers will come Jan. 26 on the road against Purdue. The Boilermakers currently sit just outside of the top 25 rankings.