Indiana women’s swim and dive was ranked tenth and originally projected to finish eighth in the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. The Hoosiers bested expectations across the board with their seventh-place team finish on Saturday in addition to 18 events in which Indiana finished better than its qualifying seeds.
“If you had told me this team was going to get seventh in the country, almost sixth, I would have thought you were crazy,” Indiana head swimming coach Ray Looze said Saturday night.
The Hoosiers began action Wednesday night when the 800-yard freestyle relay team finished seventh, its first top-8 finish in the event since 2019. The opening swimmer in the event, Anna Peplowski, broke the school record with her 200-yard split. Peplowski’s time of 1:42.86 now stands as the fastest 200 free time in program history. The sophomore improved upon her Big Ten Championshipwinning time by almost half a second.
Another program record was broken Thursday night when senior Ashley Turak posted a time of 21.81 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle consolation final. Freshman Kristina Paegle was just 18-hundredths shy of Turak, finishing three positions behind the senior in 13th place. Paegle’s time of 21.99 was good for the third-fastest time in Indiana history.
The Hoosiers’ relay success continued on night two. Indiana finished in the final podium position in the 200-yard freestyle relay with Peplowski, Turak, Paegle and senior Elizabeth Broshears setting a new program-best time of 1:27.48 in the event. This week marked the first time in four years that the Hoosier women have podiumed in multiple relay events at the national meet.
Junior diver Anne Fowler picked up right where she left off in the 3-meter dive on Friday night. The Big Ten champion finished as a national runner-up in the event, the best of any national finish for Fowler. Fowler’s silver medal in the 3-meter is the third Hoosier medal in the event in the last two seasons – Kristen Hayden and two-time NCAA platform diving champion Tarrin Gilliland finished second and third in the event in 2022.
Fowler’s second-place finish in the 3-meter followed a rough Thursday for the junior. She finished 50th in the 1-meter prelim largely due to a failed fifth-round dive.
“What a great comeback for Anne,” head diving coach Drew Johansen said Friday. “I am so proud of her and this team for never giving up.”
Anna Peplowski became another Hoosier to stand on the podium on Friday when she finished sixth in the 200 free, jumping four spots from her freshman finish. She is the first Indiana swimmer to podium in the event since Haley Lips in 2016.
An early takeoff in the 400-yard medley caused Indiana’s relay team to be disqualified from the event.
“The relay was unfortunate,” Looze said. “It just wasn’t a good relay, and then we jumped it.”
Indiana was 10th after Friday’s events and was poised to make a big jump on the final day. They did just that thanks to five podiums, a silver medal and another program record. Sophomore Ching Gan took second place in the 1650-yard freestyle, improving her career-best time by seven seconds. Gan was 3-for-3 on podiums in her events.
Anna Peplowski’s sister, senior Noelle Peplowski, finished her collegiate tenure with a career-best finish in the 200-yard backstroke. Her efforts resulted in a fifth-place finish in the 200 back, and she exits Indiana with the program’s second-fastest time in the 200-yard breaststroke behind Olympian Lilly King.
Sophomore diver Skyler Liu became the sixth consecutive Hoosier diver to podium in the platform diving event with a fourth-place finish on the final night.
“Skyler had a great day on the platform, become an All-American and getting her first taste of an A final at the NCAA Championships,” Johansen said. “We’re looking forward to the future for her, and I’m really proud of this team.”
Another Indiana athlete with promising potential is Paegle. She bested all other freshmen in the country in the 200 free, finishing 12th overall in the event. She finished the NCAA Championships tied with Anna Peplowski, the pair sharing a team-high six All-America honors.
“There are so many people I could recognize, but this came down to team culture that was beyond high level,” Looze said.
Looze commended the team’s ability to bounce back from setbacks and put the team above everything else.
“(Setbacks) are always going to happen, but you never would have known it when we came out the next day – it was back to business as usual,” Looze said. “We have a super bright future with this core group.”
The Indiana women’s team has finished its 2022-23 season. The men will do so March 22-25 when they compete in the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center in Minneapolis.