Looze Excited About Future of Indiana Swimming
July 7, 2010
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - With summer competitions in full swing and the start of the collegiate season just about three months away, head coach Ray Looze and his staff are excited about the prospects for the 2010-11 Indiana University swimming programs.
"I am proud to be the head coach of the Indiana University swimming teams, and as I have said in the past, I look to a long and successful future here at IU," said head coach Ray Looze. "Successful coaches are always going to have other opportunities, but my focus is on Indiana and the success of our student-athletes."
Both the men and women could have their strongest teams in recent memory, which would be quite an accomplishment given the programs' successes over the last several years. The IU women have won back-to-back Big Ten titles, and three of the last four conference crowns. They are also coming off their third-straight top-10 finish at the NCAA Championships and boasted their first-ever NCAA swimming champion at the 2010 meet when Kate Fesenko won the 200-yard backstroke.
"I think we could have two of our best teams ever next season," said Looze, who enters his ninth season as the head coach of the men's program, and his sixth season leading the women. "I think our men can contend for a Big Ten title next season and return to NCAA top-10 form. With the redshirt swimmers we have returning, as well as a good freshman class, I think we are ready to get back to being a Big Ten power."
The men will be bolstered by the return of several elite swimmers who redshirted last season, including sophomores Eric Ress and Jimmy Barbiere. Ress has been making waves at the international level this year, winning the 200-meter backstroke at the French National Championships in April, and again taking the 200 backstroke title at the Paris Open in June against some of the top swimmers in the world. His victory at nationals in April earned him a spot at the European Championships this August in Budapest, Hungary.
As a freshman in 2009, Ress earned All-America honors in the 100 backstroke at the NCAA Championships and also finished in the top 25 in the 200 backstroke. He was runner-up in the 100 back and 200 back at the 2009 Big Ten Championships.
Barbiere also returns after a strong freshman campaign in 2009 where he placed ninth in the 400-meter freestyle and 10th in the 200-meter freestyle at the U.S. Open. He also took 10th in the 500 freestyle and swam anchor on the 400 medley relay which took seventh at the 2009 Big Ten Championships.
On the women's side, Indiana returns a pair of Big Ten champions in juniors Margaux Farrell and Allysa Vavra. Farrell won the 200 freestyle at the 2010 Big Ten Championships, while Vavra took home the 400 individual medley title. Farrell has also made a move on the national level, earning a spot on the French national team for the 2010 European Championships in August.
In addition to Vavra and Farrell, senior Ashley Jones took second in the 200 IM and 3rd in the 200 backstroke at the Big Ten meet, while sophomore Taylor Wohrley made a big impression at her first Big Ten championship meet with a runner-up finish in the 200 backstroke.
The Hoosiers also return a total of 14 All-America honors from last year's team which placed 10th at the NCAA meet. Leading the way is five-time honoree junior Nikki White. White posted top-16 finishes in the 1,650 freestyle, 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle, 800 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay last year. Farrell picked up All-America honors in the 200 freestyle, 400 freestyle relay, 800 freestyle relay and the 400 medley relay.
"We have a talented class of women coming into the program, and along with our returnees they look forward to the opportunity to make it three Big Ten titles in a row and running our top-10 finishes at the NCAA meet to four in a row," Looze said.
But before the 2010-11 season kicks off, many Hoosiers will be spending their summer competing at national and international events. Indiana has a history of sending swimmers to meets around the world, including the World Championships and World University Games. The USA Swimming Nationals will take place August 3-7 in Irvine, Calif.
"We will be taking a large contingent of swimmers to summer nationals with the goal of placing them on teams for the World Championships, Pan-Pacific Championships and the World University Games," Looze said. "I am excited about the prospect of placing our swimmers on these world-class teams."
The collegiate season gets underway on Oct. 22 when the Hoosiers play host to Northwestern at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center.
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