As IU men’s swimming and diving has its season opener against the University of Notre Dame and the University of Kentucky on Wednesday, the Hoosiers will be looking to start their season off with a team win. Here are three things to look for in their opener.
Sophomore Michael Brinegar is ready to return to IU after summer success
Although he is young, the freestyle swimmer from Columbus, Indiana, has had quite the successful career.
He was also recently named to the 2019-20 USA Swimming National Team. Brinegar is the only current Hoosier swimmer on the team’s roster but will join seven graduated IU swimmers.
Brinegar had a successful run at the NCAA championships last year, earning the silver medal in the 1.650 freestyle race with a time of 14:27.50.
Since Brinegar is only a sophomore, his talent will add to the Hoosiers’ extensive roster of talented swimmers for three more seasons.
The large junior class must rise up as leaders
This year, IU men’s swimming and diving has 14 juniors, consisting of 11 junior swimmers and three junior divers.
With only two seniors on the roster, the junior Hoosiers will need to gain as much experience and leadership skills as possible throughout this season. Having a strong season opener will only boost the team’s morale.
While the juniors may not be quite ready to step up as leaders this early in the season, having a good start to the season can boost confidence and ease any qualms about the transition into being upperclassmen.
The team will rely on its All-Americans
Last season, IU men’s swimming and diving had 13 All-Americans. This year, nine will return.
Brinegar is one of four sophomores that achieved All-American status. Having four sophomores that already achieved such a title in their freshman year will contribute to IU’s points during its first meet.
Junior diver Andrew Capobianco and junior swimmer Gabriel Fantoni both clinched NCAA championship victories last year.
Capobianco won the bronze medal in the team event finals with Katrina Young representing Team USA at the FINA World Championships. He also placed seventh in the synchronized three meter dive.
Fantoni earned a spot on the First Team All-Big Ten last year and won his NCAA championship title in the 400 medley relay.
Both Capobianco and Fantoni have the ability to help the Hoosiers place in their respective events as a result of their success during their sophomore years.
This year could be an even bigger year for the Hoosiers with all the returning talent they have. IU went 8-0 in the regular season last year, so building upon last year’s success with these nine All-Americans could be a recipe for success this season.
All nine of these All-Americans can be expected to perform well Wednesday against Notre Dame and Kentucky based on their performances last season.