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Three IU men's swim and dive individuals win NCAA titles on night three



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Then-freshman, now sophomore Bruno Blaskovic prepares to dive into the pool for the men's 100-meter Freestyle Finals on Jan. 20, 2018. The IU men's swim and dive team participated in the NCAA Championship finals March 27 in Austin, Texas. IDS file photo Buy Photos

Headlining a successful Friday night for IU, seniors Ian Finnerty and Vini Lanza, along with sophomore Andrew Capobianco, won individual titles.

Finnerty repeated as the 100 breaststroke champion with a time of 49.85 seconds, the second fastest of his career.

The Bloomington native sealed his victory when he finished the final 50 yards of the race in 26.4 seconds, the only athlete below 28 seconds. He is also the only man to go sub-50 in this event and has five of the top 10 breaststroke performances of all time.

Lanza’s victory on the 100 butterfly was the first individual NCAA title of his swimming career.

His winning time of 44.37 was the seventh fastest in history, a Big Ten and school record and marks the first time since Mark Spitz in 1972 that a Hoosier was victorious in the 100 fly.

Capobianco entered the 3-meter dive as the No. 2 seed and proceeded to dominate his competition with a winning total of 461.65. This is his first national title.

What put the sophomore ahead of competitors was his second dive — the highest of any athlete throughout the six rounds — which totaled 100.7. Capobianco had a couple of lesser dives. Nevertheless, the newly-crowned champion held it together, warranting a huge hug from diving Coach Drew Johansen.

Outside of the three individual titles, IU also saw individual success from senior Zach Apple and freshman Zane Backes.

Similar to last year’s performance from Olympian Blake Pieroni, Apple earned second on the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:31.55. This was a career best and his 17th All-American honor. Junior Mohamed Samy tied for second on the consolation final with a time of 1:32.29.

A few lanes down from Finnerty, Backes placed fifth in the A final of the 100 breast with a time of 51.35, his first All-American honor.

IU had no athletes in the A finals of the 100 backstroke, 200 medley relay or 400 individual medley. Despite this, IU picked up points in the consolation finals.

Sophomore Gabriel Fantoni took second on the consolation final of the 100 backstroke with a time of 44.96. Fantoni then joined Finnerty, Lanza and freshman Brandon Hamblin in taking first on the B final of the 200 medley relay with 1:23.27.

Stanford University won the 400 IM with a time of 3:36.41. The race’s real winner, however, was University of California, Berkeley. The Golden Bears finished second, third and fifth, gaining 47 points over the University of Texas Longhorns. California has 372 points and Texas holds 329 points going into Saturday.

IU is in third place heading into the final night of the NCAA championships, but will be hardpressed to move further up in the overall standings.

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