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IU men's swim and dive rises to third in overall standings at NCAA championships


Sophomore Gabriel Fantoni sets up on the block before swimming the 100 backstroke Nov. 11, 2018, at Boilermaker Aquatic Center. The men's swim and dive team is competing at the NCAA Championship finals March 28 in Austin, Texas. Claire Livingston

On the heels of record-breaking performances and a relay victory, the IU men's swimming and diving team moved up to third place after the second night of the NCAA championships.

IU had athletes in five of the six events at night two of the NCAA championships in Austin, Texas. IU’s victory in the 400-yard medley relay and four broken records brought IU's score to 155 total points.

The University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Texas remain in the top two slots with 212 and 188 points, respectively.

IU’s 400-yard medley relay team of seniors Zach Apple, Ian Finnerty, Vini Lanza and sophomore Gabriel Fantoni was seeded first and successfully retained its title with a winning time of 2:59.70. This marks a school and Big Ten record.

IU took fourth with a time of 1:15.41 on the 200-yard freestyle relay as the team of Apple, junior Mohamed Samy, sophomore Bruno Blaskovic and freshman Brandon Hamblin posted another school and Big Ten record.

Lanza and Finnerty both swam in the championship final of the 200 individual medley. Lanza finished fourth with a time of 1:40.30, and Finnerty finished seventh with a time of 1:42.84, both personal bests.

On the 50-yard freestyle, Apple earned the best finishing time for IU since 1975 with a fifth-place finished and a time of 18.99. California had two athletes in this event and took first and second respectively.

Senior James Connor has been dominant throughout the season, but he struggled in the 1-meter dive Thursday night. Connor had two dives with scores below 60 points, including one sub-40 point dive.

Stronger dives followed from the Australian Olympian but were not enough to for him to recover. Connor placed fifth with a score of 373.50 points.  

Friday night features the 400-yard individual medley, 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, 100-yard backstroke, the 3-meter dive and the 200-yard medley relay.

IU needs victories from last year’s breaststroke champion Finnerty, Lanza on the butterfly and Fantoni on the backstroke to catch up to Texas.

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