IU men’s swimming and diving chases fourth straight Big Ten title


Junior Gabriel Fantoni looks at the scoreboard for his time after finishing the 200-yard backstroke race Jan. 25 in a meet against Purdue at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatics Center in Bloomington. IU will compete in the Big Ten Men's Swimming and Diving Championships Wednesday through Saturday. Colin Kulpa

IU’s championship reign began Feb. 25, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. Since then, the men’s swim and dive team has defended its championship two times. 

The No. 4 Hoosiers will put their streak on the line once again, beginning the quest for their 28th Big Ten title at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 26. The championships run through Feb. 29.

However, IU has a distinct edge it hasn't had during their championship run — a home-pool advantage. The meet is at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatics Center in Bloomington, where IU hasn’t lost a dual meet since Feb. 8, 2013.

The women’s team took advantage of the home pool last season when it upset Michigan to capture its first conference title in eight seasons in Bloomington. 

No. 3 Michigan poses the biggest threat to IU’s championship streak. Michigan beat IU 160-140 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Jan. 11. 

That day, Michigan senior Tommy Cope won the 100 and 200 breaststroke as well as the 200 individual medley. Cope has the fifth best time in the nation for the 200 breaststroke at 1:52.31, which automatically qualifies him for the national championships March 25-28 in Indianapolis. 

The freestyle events between the two schools will be tightly contested. Michigan sophomore Patrick Callan has the third-best time in the nation in the 200 and the fourth-best in the 500. IU senior Mohamed Samy is seventh in the 200, and sophomore Mikey Calvillo is 16th in the 500. 

The breaststroke events are a strength for the Big Ten, which is IU’s weakest spot. Four of the top six times in the nation belong to Big Ten swimmers in the 100 breaststroke, including Minnesota sophomore Max McHugh’s 50.74 seconds, which is best in the nation this season. IU’s top breastroker is sophomore Andrew Couchon, who is 22nd nationally.

In the 200 breaststroke, McHugh is second in the nation with a time of 1:51.62 and three Michigan swimmers are in the top 15 nationally. IU junior Gary Kostbade is 46th.  

The top returning diver from last season is Purdue junior Greg Duncan, who finished third in both the one-meter and three-meter dive events behind IU junior Andew Capobianco and then-senior James Connor. Capobianco, the reigning national champion in the three-meter, redshirted to train for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. 

When Duncan last faced IU on Jan. 25, he finished fourth in the one-meter dive behind sophomore Cole VanDevender and juniors Mory Gould and Seamus Scotty.

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