Hoosiers Maintain Third Place After Second Day Of Competition At 2003 Big Ten Swimming And Diving Championships
February 28, 2003
Ann Arbor, Mich. - The fact that first-year head swimming coach Ray Looze, Jr., was not at all pleased with the performance of his swimmers following last night's action at the 2003 Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships speaks volumes about the direction that his program is heading. On a Thursday night that saw the IU divers performing at what has become a customary championship level, Looze did not believe that his swimmers had lived up to their part of the deal. Tonight they did.
The fact that the Hoosiers were in third place after the first night of swimming and diving is evidence that with several upcoming Looze recruiting classes, coupled with Dr. Jeff Huber's elite diving program, Indiana has the potential to be a national power sooner than later. Tonight's performance did little to quash that thinking as the Hoosiers remained in third place and actually extended their lead over fourth-place Northwestern to 57.5 points, 309.5-252, with one day of competition remaining. Michigan leads the meet with 473.5 points, while Minnesota is second (462). With one day remaining, Indiana's point total of 309.5 points is 5.5 points more than it scored during the entire three days of the 2002 Big Ten meet.
"We had a really good morning (prelims) and a better night (finals)," said Looze. "In swimming, we moved up 7.5 points tonight from where we qualified at this morning. You'd be really lucky for a 10-point improvement. You really can't do much more than that. I'm just completely impressed with how Jeff Huber's divers are doing. The lion's share of the credit should go to them."
Again, it was the Indiana divers that led the charge for the Hoosiers as six IU divers were among the top 16 finishers on 3-meter. Indiana placed four divers in the eight-man final yet struggled during tonight's finals as no diver placed higher than fourth place. Senior Adam Hazes led all IU divers with a fourth-place finish (527.10), while junior Marc Carlton was fifth (512.55), freshman Brian Mariano was seventh (472.35), and junior Alex Burns was eighth (445.15). Burns was in contention after three dives but recorded a fail dive on the fourth dive of the six-dive finals.
"We had a rough night and it was totally unexpected," said Dr. Jeff Huber, the five time U.S. National Coach-of-the-Year. "We really haven't had a bad event going back to last week (Big Ten Women's Swimming and Diving Meet) so I don't know what happened. We're definitely a lot better team than that. I think we just tried really hard. I think the guys had some really high goals and expectations for tonight and I think they tried to hard and just didn't go out and dive. Now we get ready for tomorrow (platform)."
The evening began with the timed finals of the 200-yard medley relay. The Indiana squad of junior backstroker Matt Leach, senior breaststroker David Schulze, sophomore butterflier Murph Halasz, and junior freestyler Claes Andersson, finished third in a time of 1:28.82. The time moved the relay into second-place on Indiana's all-time top 10 list in the event and is a provisional NCAA qualifying time. Minnesota won the event in a time of 1:26.13, which set a Big Ten meet record. At the 2002 Big Ten championships, which were held at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatics Center in Bloomington, Indiana finished fourth in this event.
"We might have to wait until next weekend (Last Chance Meet in Bloomington) to try to get that relay qualified for NCAAs that we missed tonight," said Looze. "That was our best chance and we were really off. We got the place we were hoping for but not the time."
In the finals of the 400-yard individual medley, sophomore Richard Bryant finished sixth in a career-best time of 3:52.40. The time was more than a second faster than his time in this morning's prelims. Tonight's time moved him into third place on Indiana's all-time top 10 list in the event, trailing only current IU assistant coach Brian Barnes (3:49.35 in 1995) and Rob Iglinski (3:49.96 in 1997).
"It was a lot better swim than yesterday," said Bryant. "As a swimmer, I was disappointed with my performance yesterday but today I turned it around and I hope to do better tomorrow. I feel like I've come a long way as a swimmer. My breaststroke has improved a great deal and that's contributed to the drop of my times. My freestyle leg was probably a couple of seconds quicker than it was this morning and that made a big difference."
Added Looze, "Richard Bryant's was an outstanding swim. He dropped almost 10 second off of his seed time and after his first day it's nice to see him rebound."
Sophomore Murph Halasz qualified for the finals in the 100-yard butterfly and recorded a seventh-place finish in a time of 48.60, which was just shy of the 48.51 he swam during this morning's prelims. This morning's swim moved him into second place on Indiana's all-time top 10 list (Mark Spitz, 47.98 in 1972).
"I'm more of a 200 flier so my problem this morning was I went out to slow," said Halasz. "Tonight I went out about two-tenths faster in my first 25 but in my second 25 I backed off a little bit too much. My third 25 was good and then I choked, literally on water, on my last 25. I came up and took a breath on my first stroke off the breakout and got a mouthful of water. In a 200 (choking) isn't a big deal because it's a tenth (of a second), but in the 100, a tenth is the difference between seventh and seventh."
In the consolation finals of the 100-yard breaststroke, senior David Schulze finished third (11th overall) in a time of 55.90, which was .26 seconds faster than the time he recorded during this morning's prelims. Tonight, Schulze swam the final 25 yards faster than any other swimmer in his consolation heat which may bode well for the 200 breaststroke tomorrow.
Junior Matt Leach, who won the consolation heat of the 100-yard backstroke at 2002 Big Tens, led his heat in the same event for most of this morning's prelims before qualifying sixth for tonight's finals. This evening, he improved his seeding by finishing fifth in a time of 48.18, which was .01 seconds shy of setting the school record in the event (Ken Ackerman, 48.17 in 2000).
"Matt Leach probably had our best performance today because that time will probably make it to NC(AA)s," said Looze. "He just missed our school record in a noticeably slower pool."
Indiana finished seventh in the 800-yard freestyle relay in a time of 6:40.53. The team of sophomore David Winck, freshman Kevin Swander, Bryant, and Schulze won the first heat of the timed final but failed to swim a faster time than any of the six relay teams in the second heat of the event, thus placing seventh.
The 2003 Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships conclude Saturday. At noon, the preliminaries of the 200-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard breaststroke, 200-yard butterfly, platform diving, and the 1,650-yard freestyle will be held. The finals of those events, in addition to finals in the 400-yard freestyle relay, will be contested at 7:00 p.m. tomorrow.
"If we can get Dave Schulze to rebound and make it into big finals tomorrow and get third place we'd go out the right way," said Looze.
Team Scores After Second Day
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