Hoosiers Capture Two Titles on Day Two
February 27, 2004Prelim Results
West Lafayette, Ind. - The Indiana men's swimming and diving team continued to look impressive on the second day of competition at the Big Ten Championships. The Hoosiers captured a pair of Big Ten Championships, the first on the swimming side since 1996, to secure their position in fourth. Indiana finished day two with 316.5 points. Minnesota continued to lead with 441.5 points followed by Michigan with 391 and Northwestern with 351.
"I am proud of the team," Indiana head swimming coach Ray Looze said. "They took some steps this morning and they took even more tonight. We are becoming a championship caliber team. I realize we are only in fourth, but we were picked by the experts to finish seventh. I am pleased. We are learning how to touch the wall first. Three months again, we couldn't get our hand on the wall first, and we were swimming one of the nation's toughest schedules. It is paying off now. Our guys are better at handling the pressure."
The Hoosiers started the day in miraculous fashion capturing the 200-yard medley relay title. Entering the last 25 yards, the Hoosier relay was in third, but senior Claes Anderson overcame the 13 one-hundredth of a second deficit to capture the relay title. The team of senior Matt Leach, sophomore Kevin Swander, junior Murph Halasz and Andersson captured the first relay title for the Hoosiers since the 200-yard medley relay won at the 1996 championships.
"I think we are capable of better," Looze said. "I am very proud of the guys for winning a close race. Claes (Andersson) brought us back from third place. What is good about it is that we won and there is still gas in the tank for more. It is nice to start winning some individual and relay titles again. It has been eight years. It is nice to return to that level. We just need to keep doing what we are doing."
The relay not only shattered a school record, but eclipsed the Boilermaker Aquatic Center Pool record. The time of 1:27.40 was also an NCAA automatic qualifying time.
"We knew coming in that we could win it," Leach said. "We had good times throughout the season and we raced really well. We knew coming in that we had the talent to do it, and we did it. We don't have any weak spots in our medley relay. We just did what we knew we could do, and we put them to bed."
Swander turned in perhaps the most impressive time of the night as he broke the Big Ten Conference and Championship Meet record in winning the 100-yard breaststroke. Swander was in first or second place throughout the entire event, but trailed coming off the final turn. He made up the distance and won with an NCAA automatic time of 53.15.
"That was a nice performance," Looze said. "He has been working to swim that the right way. It has to be a combination of speed and good technique for him. He put it together tonight, and that was the result. Kevin is a neat story because he is cast off like the whole lot of us. We are all second choice people, and it is nice to see some of the guys that we over look develop into some of the better swimmers in the country."
The time also eclipsed the Hoosiers' school record of 54.66 set by Dave Schultz at the 2002 Big Ten Championships. Swander's record-setting time also eclipsed the Boilermaker Aquatic Center pool record. Swander entered the finals in fifth place after a preliminary swim of 54.68. He is the first Hoosier individual to win at Big Ten's since Sam Gasowski won the 50 and 100-yard freestyles in 1996.
"Really, this morning was a bad swim for me," Swander said. "I didn't really swim to my potential. Tonight everything just clicked. I knew coming into it that it was going to feel pretty good. I just thought it was pretty cool to have all our guys behind my lane cheering me on. I just went out there and got the job done. This is just a small step. We still have NCAA's in four weeks and this summer to go."
Halasz fed off the impressive swim of the medley relay as well. The Richmond, Va., native broke former Olympic gold medallist Mark Spitz's 32-year old school record in taking third in the 100-yard butterfly. His time of 47.90 overtook Spitz's record of 47.98. The time was also an NCAA provisional time.
"It was a good swim and a good time," Halasz said. "I really didn't want to look. I hit the wall, looked up and saw (teammate) Claes (Andersson). He gave me the pumped fist with the, `You Got It.' So that was enough for me."
A trio of freshmen rounded out the Hoosier point scorers in the butterfly. Scott Tanner placed third in the consolation final and 11th overall with a time of 49.17. Matt Maley and Kyle Ruth placed 12th and 14th overall, respectively. Maley's time of 49.02 in the preliminary competition was the eighth fastest in school history.
Junior Richard Bryant advanced to the finals in the 400-yard individual medley for the second consecutive year. He took eighth with a time of 3:55.28. Freshman Matt Jensen claimed 12th overall with a time of 3:54.83. Jensen was ninth after the prelims with a time of 3:54.03. The time was the sixth fastest in school history.
Freshman Colin Russell just missed out on a Big Ten title in the 200-yard freestyle. Russell was seeded first after the preliminary round and went 1:35.96 in the finals to take third. His preliminary time of 1:35.88 was the second fastest in school history and just missed eclipsing Jim Montgomery's record of 1:35.67. Both his prelim and final times were NCAA automatic qualifying times. Junior David Winck scored points for the second straight day. Winck took 13th overall with a career-best time of 1:39.26.
Leach finished in the top five of the 100-yard backstroke for the second straight year. The Beaverton, Ore., native placed fifth with an NCAA B cut time of 48.47. Sophomore Mike Jones took second in the consolation final and 10th overall with a career-best time of 49.39. The time for Jones was the sixth fastest in school history.
Junior diver Ryan Fagan, the only Indiana diver competing in the championships, earned a finals berth for the second straight day this time in the three-meter competition. The Pittsburgh, Pa., native took eighth with 445.60 points. Fagan was sixth coming into the finals.
"I am pleased with that, two events and two finals," Indiana head diving coach Dr. Jeff Huber said. "Those are the first two finals he has ever participated in, but he is certainly capable of diving better in the finals. I want to compliment and congratulate him on making the finals, but we need to step up and dive better in the finals. We have another event tomorrow in the platform. I think the higher he goes, the better he gets, so I am looking forward to that."
The Hoosiers capped off the second day of competition taking sixth in the 800-yard freestyle relay. The team Russell, Winck, Swander and Bryant won the first heat with time of 6:36.44. The time was an NCAA provisional time and the 10th fastest in school history.
The third and final day of the 2004 Big Ten Championships will begin tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. with the prelims of the 200-yard backstroke, the 100-yard freestyle, the 200-yard breaststroke, the 200-yard butterfly and the platform diving competition. The finals will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center on the campus of Purdue University the 1650-yard freestyle and the 400-yard freestyle relay will also be competed on the final day, but will be timed finals only.
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