The Indiana Hoosiers went on a road-trip this weekend to Louisville, Kentucky (though it’s less than a two-hour drive, even across the border) and took a pair of victories against the Louisville Cardinals. The Hoosiers, unlike most teams in the country, still have a weekend of dual meets left in a week’s time against in-state opponents Purdue and Evansville.
In a bit of a reversal of expectations, the Hoosier men dominated Louisville 193-107, both top-10 teams from last year, and the Hoosier women had a more hard-fought victory 160-140.
In the men’s meet, Indiana warmed things up with a 1:28.53 in the 200 medley relay: a new Pool Record at the Ralph Wright Natatorium. Louisville took 2nd in 1:29.63. Though a fairly comfortable win, neither side will be disappointed with their performance. Indiana put NCAA-contending backstroker Eric Ress on the butterfly leg and he responded with a splendid 21.87; James Wells still gave them an early lead on the backstroke. This is just a taste of how Ress’ versatility will really lift up this Indiana team at NCAA’s this season.
Most importantly, both teams got very good anchors: a 19.40 from Indiana’s Daniel Kanorr and a 19.50 from Louisville’s Sam Hoekstra. That will assuage a lot of concerns for both teams: the Hoosiers about having a freestyler, period, and the Cardinals about continuing to fill out their freestyle ranks as they shift their focus from the medleys that were so good last year. If they can get a 19-low from Hoekstra at NCAA’s without having to use a de Lucca relay swim in this shorter medley, it could translate to a few extra points.
De Lucca overall had a bit of a tough meet for Louisville, though with how fast he’s been (on repeat) this season, he might be ok with finally finding some breakdown in his body (he has no concern about needing certain times at Big East’s to make nationals). He won the 200 free in 1:36.92, but was only 2nd in the 100 (44.5 to teammate Carlyle Blondell’s 44.3) and 4th in the 50 (20.64).
But the Indiana men looked good from start-to-finish in this meet. Eric Ress swept the backstroke events in 48.2 and 1:45.7, respectively. The long, tall sophomore Steve Schmuhl was 2nd in that 200 back in 1:46.47, showing off some versatility. He’s always had scoring potential at NCAA’s in that 200 back, but likely won’t ever see the chance as his final day will focus on his best race: the 200 fly. He won that event against Louisville in 1:48.14, just off of his best time of the season in his first meet back from swimming at the World Championships in December. He didn’t have a mid-season (yards) rest meet, so he’ll be counting a lot on Big Tens for his NCAA qualification swims.
Another swimmer showing off some versatility was Indiana’s Cody Miller. He has never lost a Big Ten breaststroke title in two seasons, but on Friday he won three events: the 100 (55.11) in a tough battle against Louisville’s Kameron Chastain (55.75); then he took the 200 more handily in 2:02.03; but to cap his night, he won the 100 fly in 49.13. There are no lights-out butterfliers in this rivalry anymore (his teammate Ress was 2nd in 50.18), but that’s a good time as Miller builds his IM for March.
Louisville ended the meet, not surprisingly, with a resounding win in the 400 free relay. They put up a 2:57.08 to Indiana’s 3:01.35 to crush their pool record by over two seconds. That was the best the Cards looked all day, including a 43.87 second leadoff by Blondell. Indiana, meanwhile, only had one swimmer under 45 seconds: Matt Gerth in 44.81.
The women’s meet was much more competitive in the overall scoring. Indiana won the meet-opening 200 medley relay 1:41.96-1:42.83 thanks in large part to breaststroker Ashley Specht, who a 27.90. Indiana’s “B” medley breaststroker Bronwyn Pasloski split 28.10: another very good dual meet mark.
The breaststrokers were the big difference makers for the Hoosiers in this meet. Specht and Pasloski were both high-value recruits when they came to Indiana, and both have really hit a groove this season. They went 1-2 in the 100 breaststroke in 1:01.69 and 1:01.76, respectively; then again in 2:14.87 and 2:14.90 in the 200 breaststroke. In both cases, they beat out Louisville All-American Gisselle Kohoyda in 1:03.99/2:15.25. This was, however, a good meet for Kohoyda who has been very up-and-down this season.
The Hoosier backstrokers, again like their men, also performed very well. Freshman Brooklyn Snodgrass won the 100 in a 54.32. She now has the three fastest times in the Big Ten in this race in 2013. Her sophomore teammate Cynthia Pammett backed her up with a win in the 200 backstroke in 1:55.94, an even Snodgrass didn’t swim. Still, those two combine now for the three best swims of the semester.
Louisville’s Tanja Kylliainen won the last individual race of the meet, the 400 IM, in a good 4:16.85. She’s been swimming a lot of the “component” pieces of this race this season, and now as the season ends she’ll begin putting it together into the full race. She also won the 200 fly in 1:58.99 from Indiana freshman Haley Lips in 1:59.94.
Louisville really took the Hoosiers to task in the freestyle events where Indiana is relatively weak. Freshman Kelsi Worrell won the 50 (22.92), 100 (49.78), and 200 (1:47.29) freestyles each, for the most part comfortably. In the meet-ending 400 free relay though, Indiana was too consistent with four sub-51 splits to take the last victory in 3:21.62 to Louisville’s 3:22.61.