In the wake of a Big Ten Conference title, IU will be racing to beat great expectations each time it enters the pool this season. Its first test comes Wednesday in Lexington, Kentucky, where the Hoosiers will meet the University of Kentucky and the University of Notre Dame.
The tri meet features three top-25 teams looking to establish themselves as championship contenders. For No. 11 IU, this will require standout performances from its newest members.
Following the departure of Lilly King, whose name decorates the IU record books, sophomore Noelle Peplowski looks to be the heir apparent. Last year, Peplowski was named an All-American athlete for her performance in the 200-yard backstroke at the NCAA championships, placing sixth.
Finishing three hundredths of a second before Peplowski was Kentucky’s own speedster, junior Bailey Bonnett. Edging out Bonnett would not merely settle unfinished business for Peplowski. Beating Kentucky’s bellwether swimmer in its own pool would be a bold statement by the visiting Hoosiers.
Taking the plunge with Peplowski is an array of highly-touted recruits headlined by Emily Weiss.
These stories will define IU this season as new faces fill roles left behind by an elite 2019 class.
One member of that class was Jessica Parratto, the Hoosiers’ lone diver at the NCAA championships. Junior Taylor Carter, who had top-20 finishes in the one-meter, three-meter and platform dives at last year’s Big Ten Championships, will carry the torch into Lexington for the IU diving squad.
Carter will face Kentucky’s sophomore Kyndal Knight and Notre Dame’s sophomore Annie Wiese, both of whom competed at last year’s NCAA championships.
With youth between the swimming lanes and uncertainty on the diving board, head coach Ray Looze’s team has much to prove this year. The upcoming meet in Lexington is a prime opportunity to broadcast an identity for these new-look Hoosiers.