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IU men’s swimming and diving triumphant in home opener



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Swimmers in the men's 400 free relay kick off their starting blocks Nov. 2 at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatics Center. The meet ended with IU beating Iowa 245-55 and IU beating Michigan 165-135. Anna Brown Buy Photos

IU men’s swimming and diving returned home to the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatics Center in stride, defeating ranked conference foes Michigan and Iowa. Though the score read 165-135 over Michigan and 245-55 over Iowa, IU’s biggest win of the day came against its own depth chart. 

“Going into this, we knew we would be shorthanded,” head coach Ray Looze said. 

The Hoosiers entered the fray without two of their best swimmers, Michael Brinegar and Gabriel Fantoni. 

“We swim well and dive well here, but without your stars, the other guys have to step up,” Looze said. 

Among those carrying the increased load for IU were junior Jacob Steele and sophomore Zane Backes. Steele controlled both the 100 and 200-yard backstrokes with times of 47.99 and 1:46.41. 

Shortly after the 100-yard backstroke, Backes exploded from his second turn in the 100-yard breaststroke en route to a first-place finish at a time of 53.58. Looze said the race was a huge step forward for the Las Vegas transfer.

He also made note of sophomore Mikey Calvillo, who earned second in the 500 and 1000-yard freestyle races. Though Michigan’s Ricard Vargas dominated each event, Calvillo’s upset of Will Roberts and Felix Auobeck proved crucial in staving off Michigan.

“When you get swept, which is what they were supposed to do, you really fall back,” Looze said. “Mikey very much prevented that and beat two out of their three top-notch guys.”

While Calvillo was filling the gap left by Brinegar in endurance, junior diver Mory Gould stepped in for NCAA Champion Andrew Capobianco, currently taking an Olympic redshirt. Gould picked up where Capobianco left off, rebounding from a rocky start to clinch both the 1-meter and 3-meter dives.

“For one-meter especially I missed a few dives, so coming back strong is big,” Gould said. 

Michigan’s Ross Todd led the three-meter dive going into the third round, but a backward tuck by Gould, earning three eights from the judges, pushed him to the front of the standings, a height from which he never looked down during his 403.85-point conquest.

“For the three-meter it was just keeping up that good momentum,” Gould said. “Going in with the mindset that no matter the takeoff, I’m going to make it to my hands and put a good entry on it.”

Gould’s performance on the diving board caught the eyes of swimmers and divers alike. 

“He’s going to be one of the better divers in the NCAA, and he just showed why today,” Looze said. 

Gould was not the only Hoosier to emerge undefeated. Mohamed Samy added to his robust collection of successes with performances in the 100-yard freestyle (43.20) and 200-yard freestyle (1:35.30), then ousted Michigan’s Tommy Cope for first in the 200-yard individual medley (1:44.95). Minutes later, Samy sealed victory for IU’s 400-yard freestyle relay team to cap off the meet. 

“Mohamed Samy is a beast,” Looze said. “His nickname is ‘The Bear’ because he’s just a bear to deal with, and he acted that way.”

IU has little time to revel in satisfaction, as this Friday pits it against the University of Texas and the University of Louisville. With four ranked opponents invading Bloomington in the span of seven days, even the home waters are sure to grow choppy.

“This is our toughest week of the season, dual-meet wise,” Looze said. “I’d like to get a little healthier.”

For now, the Hoosiers must content themselves with a pair of Big Ten wins and some reassurance amidst roster scarcity. 

“Everybody up and down the lineup contributed,” Looze said. “This was a team victory.”

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