The Indiana men’s and women’s swim and dive teams defeated the University of Missouri in their first home meet on Saturday, notching win number three on the season.
After two consecutive road meets in Kentucky and Texas, head swim coach Ray Looze said it was nice to be back home.
“This was great to be back in the friendly confines of the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center,” Looze said. “We always have success here.”
The men lost a nail-biter to No. 2 Texas on Oct. 21, and although the 168-125 win is a rebound, Looze said the loss still stings.
“I don’t think we’re going to forget that one too soon,” Looze said. “The men lost their first dual meet in three years, so now it’s time to start another streak.”
[Related: Indiana men’s and women’s swim and dive takes second place at tri-meet in Texas]
Indiana senior Brendan Burns and Missouri fifth-year senior Jack Dahlgren were separated by just one-tenth of a second heading into the last 50 yards of the 200 free. Burns, fresh off his sixth-career Big Ten weekly award, out-touched Dahlgren by just 0.06 seconds, winning the event with a time of 1:36.11.
“He’s one of the best swimmers in the NCAA,” Looze said of Burns. “He’s an assassin, and I love the way he competes.”
Graduate student Van Mathias was another key performer for the men’s team. He helped the 200-medley relay team secure first place by almost two seconds with a time of 1:25.98. He also won the 50 free with a B-cut time of 19.63 seconds, the 100 free with a time of 43.60 and finished second in the 200-individual medley with a time of 1:49.88.
“I’d like to compliment Van on his leadership,” Looze said. “He’s so strong right now, and his execution is fascinating. He’s always been a good relay swimmer, but he’s transitioned into other events, and now he’s our fastest sprinter.”
Two other early-season men’s standouts are sophomores Luke Barr and Finn Brooks. Barr swam the backstroke leg of the 200-medley relay in the men’s first win of the day and took the top spot in the 100 back by almost one second over fellow second-year stalwart Rafa Miroslaw.
“Barr is having a phenomenal season,” Looze said. “Brooks has really developed into one of our better swimmers,” he added, and the results speak for themselves.
Brooks swam the butterfly leg of the 200-medley race, finished second in the 50-free with a time of 20.20 and finished second in the 100-fly with a time of 47.83.
On the diving side for the men’s team, sophomores Quinn Henninger and Carson Tyler took the top spots in both the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard events. Henninger edged out Tyler 416.63-409.13 in the 1-meter, and Tyler took top honors in the 3-meter 415.50-411.30 over the newly crowned Big Ten men’s Diver of the Week.
[Related: Four Indiana swim and dive athletes earn Big Ten weekly awards]
Regardless of who was the preeminent diver, the two sophomores had one thing in common — every dive performed by either of them received raucous applause from the Hoosier fans. It showed in the results too: the average difference between the top -two divers to third place was nearly 60 points. The average margin between the top two was less than six points.
For the women’s team, it was a day of firsts. Freshmen Katie Forrester and Mya Dewitt each earned their first career wins in the 200-fly and 200-back, respectively. Looze had high praises for Dewitt after the meet.
“She went 100% today,” Looze said. “You have a great appreciation for it – winning with no excuses.”
Anna Peplowski continued her strong season, winning the 200-free with a B-cut and season-best time of 1:46.81 — one of three events she won in the meet. She also won the 50 and 100-free and swam the first leg of the 400-free relay in a victory for the team of herself, senior Ashley Turak, junior Ella Ristic, and reigning women’s Freshman Swimmer of the Week Kristina Paegle.
Looze has emphasized the importance of winning relays throughout the season, and it showed in Saturday’s results as the men and women swept all four relay events. The women began the day with the team of sophomore Kacey McKenna, graduate student Mackenzie Looze, junior Elizabeth Broshears and Ashley Turak winning the 200-medley relay after taking an early lead and never relinquishing it.
“When you win relays, you are a very, very good team,” Looze said.
Junior diver Anne Fowler swept the women’s events, posting season-high scores of 316.05 and 337.65 in the 1- and 3-meter springboard events, respectively. Her victories on Saturday were her first of the season after having finished fourth in Kentucky and second in Texas.
The women defeated Missouri 171-123 and will now shift their focus to the Ohio State Invitational, a meet where the host program boasts one of the best women’s teams in the country. The Buckeyes are currently ranked fifth.
“We want to go to Columbus and throw the hammer down,” Looze said. “We need to go into their house and take what’s theirs.”
Individual swimmers will head to the FINA World Cup Nov. 3-5 in Indianapolis, representing their own countries, but the Hoosiers’ next test is the Ohio State Invitational, which runs from Nov. 17-19 in Columbus. The meet will host Indiana along with the University of Kentucky, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Miami, and Virginia Tech University.