Indiana Swimmers And Divers Reside In Third Place After First Day Of Big Ten Championships
February 27, 2003
Ann Arbor, Mich. - The Indiana University men's swimming and diving squad entered the 2003 Big Ten Men's Swimming and Diving Championships looking to improve upon its seventh-place finish of a year ago, which was the school's worst performance since 1954. After the first day of competition, that goal looks to be well in reach as Indiana currently resides in third place with 148 points. Minnesota (206) and the host Wolverines (200) are currently in first and second place, respectively. The Hoosiers lead fourth-place Northwestern (133) by 15 points.
Despite the third-place standing at the conclusion of day one, first-year head coach Ray Looze, Jr., was disappointed with his team's performance.
"It was pretty bad," said the irrepressible Looze. "We have to swim better in the morning. We just killed ourselves this morning. Jeff Huber and his divers did just an outstanding job. They dominated diving and that kind of put us over the top."
To say that Indiana dominated the one-meter diving competition may even be an understatement. Junior Marc Carlton, who is a member of the U.S. National Team, won the one-meter competition with a score of 361.15, easily outdistancing junior Jason Coben of Michigan who finished second with 325.30 points. For Carlton, it was the first Big Ten title of his career as his best previous finish was a fifth-place finish on one-meter last year. He did finish second on platform in 2002, but at last year's Big Ten meet it was an exhibition competition. In addition to Carlton's performance, freshman Brian Mariano (306.35) and senior Adam Hazes (302.95) both qualified for finals and finished in fourth and fifth place. Also scoring for the Hoosiers on one-meter were sophomore Ryan Fagan (12th), sophomore Brian Metzler (13th), and junior Alex Burns (16th).
"It was nice that everybody got in to score," said Huber, who as recently as last week was named the Big Ten Women's Coach-of-the-Year and helped senior Sara Hildebrand to Big Ten titles on one-meter, three-meter, and platform. "We're coming into this not only with individual goals but with a team attitude. Our goal tomorrow (on 3-meter) is to get all six guys in finals. I want to compliment Marc Carlton. He lost this meet last year on the inward 2 1/2 and he just worked so hard this year that nobody was going to beat him today. As the events get higher we get better so we are looking forward to the next two days."
Added Carlton, "I thought coming in that one-meter and tower were going to be the toughest for me but it was a good event and we dove well. In the finals I was a little worried about my back and my gainer. I've been doing a pike (position) all year, which is a harder dive but I decided to go back down to tuck. It's an easier dive but I haven't practiced it as much. Once I got past the back and gainer, I knew that I was in good shape."
Thursday's finals began with the 200-yard freestyle relay, which is one of the most exciting events in collegiate swimming as the margin for error is miniscule. The Indiana relay team of junior Claes Andersson, junior Mike Payne, sophomore Nicholas Burgess, and junior Dale Ramsy finished fourth with a time of 1:20.02. The time is the fourth-fastest mark in IU history. Minnesota won the event in a time of 1:19.44, which would have only been good for only fifth place at the 2002 Big Ten Championships, which were held at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatics Center in Bloomington.
In what was a remarkable accomplishment, the host Wolverines qualified six swimmers into the finals of the 500-yard freestyle, the first time since 1998 that one team qualified six swimmers for an event final (Michigan, 500 free). What made the feat even more remarkable was the fact that the Michigan swimmers were the top six qualifiers in this afternoon's preliminaries. U of M freshman Peter Vanderkaay won the finals of the event in a time of 4:16.28.
Indiana sophomore Murph Halasz finished third in the consolation finals of the 200-yard individual medley in a time of 1:49.64, which is the fifth-fastest time in school history. Purdue sophomore Louis Paul won in 1:46.07.
In the 50-yard freestyle, Andersson finished third in a time of 20.14, while Payne won the consolation heat in a time of 20.58. Andersson's time of 19.99 in the consolation finals was his fastest of the season, although he did record a 19.93 at the 2002 Big Tens in Bloomington.
"In the 50-yard free, Dale Ramsy (not qualifying for the consolation finals or finals) didn't surprise us. He's had a pancreatic condition and we just brought him here for the relay. Mike Payne did a really good job and Claes did a good job. This is a slow pool. Our places are about right but our times are way off. This facility is about the fifth- or sixth-fastest in the Big Ten and that's going to hurt everybody attempting to get NCAAs."
Indiana won the first of two heats of the 400-yard medley relay, which was good for a fifth-place finish overall. The team of junior backstroker Matt Leach, senior breaststroker David Schulze, sophomore butterflier Murph Halasz, and junior freestyler Claes Andersson recorded a time of 3:15.42, which is the third fastest time in school history. The University of Minnesota set a pool and Big Ten meet record with a time of 3:09.76.
"We did better than we thought in the 400 medley," said Looze. "We had three good legs out of four. We just can't seem to put four good legs together. It was the same with the 200 free relay. If we could put four good legs together we'd be in business with some higher finishes."
The meet continues on Friday at noon with the preliminaries of the 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 free, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke, and 3-meter diving. The finals of those events, in addition to the 200-yard medley relay and the 800 free relay will be contested at 7:00 p.m.
"The good thing is that we did some things today that showed we can score some points tomorrow, but we have to swim well in prelims and not make any mistakes," said Looze. "We're a team with very little margin for error. We're in third place today but there are more swimming events. If we don't have our act together we just take zeroes. The 200 free is going to be very difficult for us to score in. Most likely we won't so we have got to score in the 400 IM, the 100 back, the 100 fly, and the 100 breast. We've got to do well in both relays. I think we can do really well in the 200 medley based on the 400 medley tonight. The 800 free relay is our worst relay. I don't even have one 200 freestyler so we are probably looking at a ninth or a 10th. If we can swim better every session, we have a shot at third. We've got to want it more than the other teams."
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