IU women’s swimming and diving tops Notre Dame, falls to Kentucky in road opener


Then-junior Maria Paula Heitmann, then-freshman Noelle Peplowski, and then-senior Bailey Anderson cheer on their teammate then-freshman Morgan Scott as she swims the freestyle Feb. 20 at the Counsilman Billingsley Aquatic Center. IU's women's swimming team will compete in Knoxville, Tennessee, this weekend, and the diving team will compete in Indianapolis. IDS file photo and Claire Livingston

IU women’s swimming and diving bested Notre Dame 172-128 while falling short against Kentucky, 161-139. The team left Lexington, Kentucky, on Wednesday with a win, a loss, and some much-needed answers. One of these came in the form of freshman Cora Dupre, who confirmed that IU’s youth can pick up where the class of 2019 left off. 

Dupre took first in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:46.66, then won the 100-yard freestyle in 49.43. Her performance in the 100 was fast enough for an NCAA B-Cut time, moving her a few strokes closer to an appearance at the NCAA Championships in March. 

Sophomore Noelle Peplowski also earned a pair of victory laps, winning both the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke, avenging the narrow defeat dealt to her by Kentucky’s Bailey Bonnett at the 2019 NCAA Championships. 

Not to be outdone by her underclassmen teammates, senior Cassy Jernberg claimed first in the 500-yard and 1,000-yard freestyle with times of 4:50.82 and 9:55.29, respectively. She was the only swimmer to touch the wall before the clock hit ten minutes. 

The Hoosiers’ potent combination of speed and experience was on display in the 400-yard freestyle relay, which saw freshmen Dupre and Ashley Turak team up with junior Laurel Eiber and senior Maria Paul Heitmann, taking first with a time of 3:22.83. Eiber also sprinted to a time of 23.47 in a victory during the 50-yard freestyle. 

Quandaries remain at the diving board, where the Wildcats’ sophomore Kyndal Knight emerged victorious in both the one-meter and three-meter dives. IU sophomores Alyssa Wang and Kayla Luarde placed fourth in the one-meter and three-meter, respectively. Though unable to match her opponents’ top-end talent in Lexington, IU freshman Carmen Hernandez finished in the top six for both dives. 

The Hoosier divers showed potential in an early road test, but growing pains are to be expected at a position lacking upperclassmen. 

No opportunities for a slow start were awarded to IU as it faced a pair of ranked opponents away from Bloomington to start the season. The team emerged with one win thanks in part to impressive career starts from the freshmen, while Jernberg and Eiber’s finishes proved the young core is in good hands moving forward.

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