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The Indiana Daily Student

sports swimming & diving

Indiana women’s swim and dive wins seventh Big Ten title

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Indiana women’s swim and dive captured its seventh Big Ten championship Feb. 24, winning in walk-off fashion. The Hoosiers edged out Ohio State by just half a point. Indiana placed second in the 400-meter freestyle relay, ahead of the third-place Buckeyes, to earn two points which ultimately decided the meet. 

Every individual performance proved to be critical given the narrow margin of victory. Juniors Ching Hwee Gan and Brearna Crawford became the conference champions in the 1,650-meter freestyle (15:54.83) and 200-meter breaststroke (2:07.25), respectively. Junior Mariah Denigan finished third in the 1,650-meter freestyle as well (15:15.66).  

Junior Anna Peplowski (47.53) and sophomore Kristina Paegle (47.65) finished second and third in the 100-meter freestyle. The two also bookended the 400-meter freestyle relay team, which claimed second place. Peplowski continued her strong showing by taking home the gold medal in the 200-meter freestyle.  

The 800-meter freestyle relay team of Peplowski, Gan, Paegle and senior Ella Ristic (6:55.45) won the gold, annihilating the program record in the process.   

Freshman MacKenna Lieske played a pivotal part in the team’s success. She needed to win a swim-off Saturday morning to earn a place in the 200-meter breaststroke C final. In doing so, she earned maximum points for her heat, points which ultimately made the difference.  

“I am still in a state of disbelief," IU head swimming coach Ray Looze said after winning his 10th Big Ten title as head coach. "What our women did tonight was simply unbelievable. We basically witnessed a near-perfect performance by everyone."  

IU received a boost in the diving pool from junior Skylar Liu, who was named Big Ten Diver of the Championships thanks to her gold medal finishes in the 10-meter and 3-meter events. Needing a score of at least 78.80 points on her final dive off the 10-meter platform to be victorious, Liu came in clutch for the Hoosiers and earned 79.20 points to win her second Big Ten championship in as many days. More importantly, she added the maximum 30 points to the Hoosiers’ overall score.  

IU head diving coach Drew Johansen called it “the ultimate team victory.”  

"I have never seen four days of competition come down to half of a point,” he continued, emphasizing the uniqueness of this year's competition. “Every girl on this team made a difference. To see Skyler hit that last dive to win by less than a point was spectacular,” 

The women’s divers will travel down to Louisville, Kentucky, for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships on March 14-16, hoping to qualify for the NCAA Championships, where they will rejoin the swimmers a week later in Athens, Georgia.

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