Before its opening race versus Purdue on Saturday at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatics Center, IU women’s swimming and diving commemorated a number of seniors, including Cassy Jernberg and Maria Paula Heitmann.
The duo would elicit several more cheers throughout the meet, as they propelled the Hoosiers to a 174-120 victory over the Boilermakers.
Jernberg kicked off her final performance in Bloomington with 1,000 yards of dominance in the freestyle. She steadily cultivated a 14-second lead over her opposition in each of the race’s 40 legs, finishing with a time of 10:10.52.
Meanwhile, Heitmann began her senior day with a win in the 200 freestyle, hanging on to oust Purdue’s junior Maizie Seidl by an arm's length.
The pair of veterans shared the pool in the 500 freestyle, spearheading a four-woman sweep. Jernberg was first to touch the wall at 4:55.39, a short breath ahead of Heitmann, sophomore Noelle Peplowski and junior Ryley Ober.
Jernberg said it was incredible having Heitmann literally by her side during her final strokes.
“We’ve been racing together for four years, so to finish it off on such a high note like that, especially against an in-state rival was really cool,” Jernberg said.
Despite the impressive demonstration by upperclassmen, IU’s cast of freshman standouts was not to be outdone because Cora Dupre, Emily Weiss and Ashley Turak all added wins.
Dupre earned the top spot in both the 100 and 200 backstrokes with times of 54.56 and 1:57.82. By the time Purdue’s sophomore Natalie Myers arrived back at the starting platform in the 200, Dupre was in the process of removing her goggles, having reached the wall nearly five seconds prior.
Turak anchored IU’s victorious 200 medley relay while taking first for herself in the 50 freestyle, and Weiss commanded both breaststroke events to round out a strong outing for the 2019 recruiting class.
Thanks to contributions from new and familiar faces alike, the Hoosiers marched to their largest triumph of the season — something head coach Ray Looze said was a long time coming.
A complete effort such as Saturday’s would not have been possible without production both in the lanes and atop the diving board.
Though Purdue owned the podium in the platform dive thanks largely to a 300-point showing from senior Emily Meaney, IU freshman Zain Smith placed first in the 1-meter.
The highlight of Smith’s afternoon came in the third round of the 1-meter when a reverse pike sent her somersaulting to scores of 7.5 and eight from the judges. She would then exchange ownership of the contest’s top place with Purdue freshman Maycey Vieta, but Smith’s backward pike in the ultimate round proved to be decisive in her victory of the 1-meter.
With little time to celebrate the conquest of a rival, IU now looks to Friday’s road test against the University of Louisville, a school ranked as high as 13th in some polls. Looze noted the increasing demands of the coming weeks as many of their competitors will begin to reach the peak of their season.
“There’s other good schools out there,” Looze said. “We’re gonna need everybody to contribute — divers, swimmers, every single discipline — to be successful."