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Tuesday, May 28
The Indiana Daily Student

sports swimming & diving

IU men's swim and dive wins 27th Big Ten team title

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On Saturday IU men's swim and dive won its 27th Big Ten championship in program history. 

This marks the first Big Ten three-peat since 1983-85, as well as the first time IU has ever won both the men's and women's Big Ten swim and dive championships in the same year. 

“To see both genders do well is just a real blessing and real humbling,” Swim Coach Ray Looze said. “It’s such a competitive conference and it’s not something I take lightly.” 

IU was led by senior Vini Lanza and senior James Connor. Lanza earned his third Swimmer of the Championships award, the only man in Big Ten history to do so. 

Connor earned the Diver of the Championships honors and contributed to IU’s 13 first place finishes throughout the meet.

“He gave an inspired performance, and it’s no coincidence that three out of the four years that James has dove for us we’ve won titles,” Head Diving Coach Drew Johansen said.  

Four relay victories padded IU’s lead throughout the week with wins in the 800 freestyle, 400 medley, 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle. All relays qualified for the national championships with NCAA A cut times.

“The most important relay was the one we lost,” Looze said. “I think it was a great wake-up call because it happened so early in the meet that it got our guys’ attention. It crystalized our level of focus because they were not happy about losing that relay.”

The 800 freestyle time of 6:11.02 for IU was the second fastest in the nation and the 200 freestyle relay team of seniors Zach Apple and Lanza, freshman Brandon Hamblin and sophomore Bruno Blaskovic set IU, Big Ten meet and conference records with a time of 1:16.01. 

Two IU swimmers swept their respective events with sophomore Gabriel Fantoni on the butterfly and senior Ian Finnerty on breaststroke.

Fantoni won both the 100 and 200 backstroke with times of 44.91 and 1:39.28 respectively. The former marked his personal best in the event and the latter established a new Big Ten record. 

Last year’s conference and national breaststroke champion Finnerty swept both the 100 (50.77) and 200 events (1:50.30) with NCAA A cuts. Finnerty became the first man in conference history to win the 100 breaststroke four consecutive years. His time on the 200 breaststroke also established the fastest time in Big Ten history. 

Lanza, took first with NCAA A cut and Big Ten record breaking performances in the 200 individual medley and 200 butterfly. His performance in the butterfly set a school record and was also the fastest time in the nation this year. 

Looze said he is grateful for the opportunity to have witnessed the growth of Finnerty and Lanza, and is excited to see how they prepare for Austin.

“When they arrived as freshman we began to see the transformation of our program,” Looze said. “As sophomores they were among the best of the conference and were already performing like seniors would. I look forward to seeing how they close out their collegiate careers in Austin, Texas.” 

Finally, in addition to his part in IU’s four winning relays, Apple took first in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:32.69. This was a NCAA B Cut and his personal best. 

For the IU divers, Connor and sophomore Andrew Capobianco placed first and second respectively with NCAA Zones Qualifying scores on both the 1- and 3-meter dives. IU will go into the NCAA competition undefeated in the springboard events this season.

“James is not to be denied in being challenged by our young Andrew Capobianco and it was great to see him show the young guy the ropes on how to handle a meet like that,” Johansen said. 

Connor and Capobianco scored 467.60 and 458.90 respectively on the 1-meter. This was Connor’s first Big Ten 1-meter crown and Capobianco's personal best for the event. 

On Friday, Connor earned his second 3-meter title with 494.10. Capobianco scored 477.60, giving him another second place finish. 

Capobianco also achieved fourth on the platform dive in the final night of the competition with 416.00. He was the only diver in the conference to participate in the A finals of every diving event. 

“Andrew was stellar all week and we’re looking forward to a week of rest and recovery before getting qualified for all three events at zones,” Johansen said. “I have a feeling we should see even better performances out of him in the coming weeks.” 

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