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IU swim and dive breaks records as it takes a lead in Big Ten championships



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Then-freshman butterfly swimmer Vinicius Lanza, now a senior, competes during the 200-yard butterfly in 2016 at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. Noble Guyon Buy Photos

After dropping the first two events of the night, IU men's swimming and diving won the final five and increased its lead in the overall standings. 

With only one night remaining in the Big Ten Men's Swimming and Diving Championships, IU sits on top with 1,144 points. 

The opening two events were won by Michigan, which is currently in second place with 1,026 points. Indiana had only one top three finisher for the 100 butterfly and 400 individual medley.

Despite the lackluster opening, IU would dominate the remaining events of the night.

IU senior Zach Apple took first place in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:32.68. 

For the fourth consecutive year, IU senior Ian Finnerty won the 100 breaststroke title, finishing with an NCAA A cut time of 50.77, automatically qualifying for the national championships. He is the only male Big Ten competitor in history to win the 100 breaststroke all four years.

Teammate and freshman Zane Backes placed third with another NCAA A cut time of 51.73. 

In the fifth event, IU sophomore Gabriel Fantoni repeated as the 100 backstroke champion with an NCAA A cut time of 44.91. Fantoni had a stellar start off the wall and gave himself a lead he would not lose.

Before the final swimming event of the evening, IU had to defend its season-long undefeated springboard diving record. 

Senior James Connor and sophomore Andrew Capobianco trailed throughout most of the 3-meter rounds. Purdue sophomore Greg Duncan held a strong lead over the two IU divers. However, Connor and Capobianco catching up and passing Duncan. 

Capobianco had two dives of 90 points or more and his final dive scored 93.50. Though just when it seemed like Capobianco would be crowned champion, Connor posted a final dive of 99.75 and won the competition with 494.10 points. Capobianco finished with 477.60. 

To close out the night, IU won the 200 freestyle relay with a school and Big Ten meet record time of 1:16.01. IU seniors Apple and Vini Lanza, along with junior Mohamed Samy and sophomore Bruno Blaskovic beat the second place Ohio State group by under half a second. 

The third night was a strong indication of the strength of the IU team heading into the national championships later this month. As a result of its strong showing on night three the Hoosiers are on pace to claim their third Big Ten title in a row, and certainly be in the mix for an NCAA championship.

The final night of competition will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and will feature the following events: 1650 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, platform diving and 400 freestyle relay.

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