It’s that time of the year again. SwimSwam will be previewing the top 12 men’s and women’s teams (and then some) from the 2022 NCAA Championships. Follow along with the College Swimming Preview Channel. Want to read even more? Check out the latest edition of the SwimSwam magazine.
#11 Indiana Hoosiers
Key Loses: Kristen Hayden-Diver (32 NCAA Points, 56 Big Ten Points)
Three years ago, we unveiled a new, more data-based grading criteria based on ‘projected returning points’, a stat of our own making that involved a lot of manual calculations involving departing seniors, redshirts, freshmen, etc. We liked the objectiveness of that stat, but given that there’s still a lot of uncertainty for this year, we’re adopting a hybrid approach this year. The “stars” will rely heavily on what swimmers actually did last year, but we’ll also give credit to returning swimmers or freshmen who have times that would have scored last year.
Since we only profile the top 12 teams in this format, our grades are designed with that range in mind. In the grand scheme of college swimming and compared to all other college programs, top 12 NCAA programs would pretty much all grade well across the board. But in the interest of making these previews informative, our grading scale is tough – designed to show the tiers between the good stroke groups, the great ones, and the 2015 Texas fly group types.
- 5 star (★★★★★) – a rare, elite NCAA group projected to score 25+ points per event
- 4 star (★★★★) – a very, very good NCAA group projected to score 15-24 points per event
- 3 star (★★★) – a good NCAA group projected to score 5-14 points per event
- 2 star (★★) – a solid NCAA group projected to score 1-4 points per event
- 1 star (★) – an NCAA group that is projected to score no points per event, though that doesn’t mean it’s without potential scorers – they’ll just need to leapfrog some swimmers ahead of them to do it
We’ll grade each event discipline: sprint free (which we define to include all the relay-distance freestyle events, so 50, 100 and 200), distance free, IM, breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly and diving. Use these grades as a jumping-off point for discussion, rather than a reason to be angry.
The Hoosier women finished third once again at the conference level but moved up from 15th to 11th at NCAAs. The team was led by their diving squad as diving scored 79 out of their 116 points at NCAAs.
The team lost 2021 Big Ten 200 breaststroke champion Emily Weiss as she retired mid-season, but the team still managed to score 80 points in the event. Notably, it was the team’s second highest scoring swimming event. Indiana also was the highest scoring Big Ten team in the event. Freshman Brearna Crawford and senior Noelle Peplowski went 1-2 in the event.
At Big Tens, the Hoosiers and Wisconsin Badgers came down in a close battle for third and fourth as they were only separated by 15 points. Even though the Hoosiers only won two events and the Badgers won four, the Hoosiers were able to stay ahead.
The freshman class made a huge impact in their first year as the highest scoring grade at Big Tens. #7 ranked recruit at the end of high school Mariah Denigan brought in 60 points at Big Tens and was just off of scoring at NCAAs in the mile. Also helping boost the team as a freshman was mid-year addition Gan Ching Hwee who scored 68 points at Big Tens as well as seven at NCAAs.
Perhaps the biggest standout freshman was Anna Peplowski, who was unranked in SwimSwam’s class of 2021 rankings, had a huge first year. Peplowski came into Indiana with a best time of 1:47.26 in the 200 free and a 1:58.34 in the 200 back. She was able to drop down to 1:43.53 in the free and a 1:53.04 in the back. She was the team’s highest scoring swimmer at Big Tens and earned Freshman of the Meet honors.
Sprint Free: ★★
Indiana had no scorers in the 50 and 100 frees this past year at NCAAs but rising sophomore Anna Peplowski finished 10th in the 200 free swimming a 1:43.57 to score 7 points.
The team also did not score in either of the 200 or 400 freestyle relays but finished 15th in the 800 free relay to finish 15th. Notably, all four members of each of the free relays will return as Mackenzie Looze has announced she will return for a fifth year.
Rising senior Ashley Turak led the way in the 50 free swimming a 22.21 at midseason. She also went a 48.96 in the 100. She’s been faster in previous season as her bests stand at 21.99 and 48.56.
Even though all members of the freestyle relays are returning, the team will receive a huge boost from incoming freshman Kristina Paegle. Paegle holds a best time of 48.00 in the 100 freestyle, a time that would have already earned her a B final swim at NCAAs. Her best time also would have been the fastest for the Hoosiers this past season by over half of a second.
Incoming international freshmen Katharina Wrede and Chiok Sze Yeo have both been under the 26 second mark in the long course meter 50 freestyle. Based on SwimSwam’s time converter their times put them around the 22.60 for Sze Yeo and the 22.37 for Wrede flat starts. Both of those times would have been on the top four in the roster this past season meaning both could potentially boost the 200 freestyle relay.
Distance Free: ★★
Leading the way for the distance freestyle this past year were Gan Ching Hwee who arrived at the start of 2022 and Mariah Denigan. Ching Hwee finished 10th in the mile at NCAAs swimming a 16:02.68 which was about nine second off what she swam at Big Tens a month earlier. Her time of 15:53.81 would have finished sixth.
Denigan was just off scoring in the 1650 as she swam a 16:06.55 to finish 18th. The two also swam in the 500 free at NCAAs but were slightly off their bests and did not make a final.
Denigan has been one of the bigger names in US women’s distance freestyle for the last few years, although she has been slightly off her best LCM. Recently though at US Nationals, she had a huge meet finishing second behind Katie Ledecky in the 800 freestyle while swimming in the afternoon heats as well as second in the 1500 free. If she is able to replicate her time drops from last year to this upcoming year like she did long course, she is set up for a big season this winter.
The backstrokes were some of Indiana’s weaker events at the NCAA this past year as they scored 0 points in either event at NCAAs, although they scored 100 points in the 100 and 200 back combined at Big Tens. As mentioned above, Anna Peplowski had huge drops in the 200 back in her first year and finished 20th at NCAAs with a 1:53.63. She had swam a best time of 1:53.04 at Big Tens though which would have qualified her for the B final at NCAAs.
Kacey McKenna also was slightly off her best as in the 100 backstroke she swam a 52.57 at NCAAs to finish 34th. She has a best of 51.93 which she swam at Big Tens. That best time would have finished 18th at NCAAs. She also had a huge drop from last year to this year as she was a 54.39 during the 2020-2021 season.
If both are able to replicate their swims from Big Tens, they have the chance to add a few points for the Hoosier women. In addition, if both continue on their time-dropping trajectory that they were on this past season, they could potentially be a threat to make the A final.
Joining the backstroke group will be Mya Dewitt. Dewitt holds a best time of 52.85 in the 100 back from February 2021. That would have been third on the team’s roster this past season only behind Peplowski and McKenna. Dewitt is also not far off of the 52.46 that it took to earn an individual NCAA invite this past season.
The Hoosiers went 1-2 in the 200 breast at Big Tens with rising sophomore Brearna Crawford taking the win in a 2:06.86 just ahead of Noelle Peplowski who was second in a 2:07.32. Both went on to swim the event at NCAAs but were slightly off their time from Big Tens missing the final.
Improving upon her swim from Big Tens was Looze. Looze swam a 2:09.26 in the event to finish ninth at Big Tens but swam a 2:07.04 to finish 12th at NCAAs. This summer, Looze became a national champion in the 200 breast dropping over two seconds from previous years.
Peplowski and Crawford also swam the 100 breast at NCAAs. Peplowski snuck into the final finishing 14th in prelims and swam a 59.71 to be 16th in finals.
Joining the breaststroke group will be MacKenna Lieske who has a best time of 1:02.13 in the 100.
The team’s biggest weakness this past season was the butterfly events. At Bigs Tens, they scored 0 points in the 200 fly and only 20 in the 100 fly. The 200 was the only event that they scored 0 points in. They had no individual qualifiers for NCAAs in any fly event.
Leading the fly group this past season was Elizabeth Brosheares who swam the fly leg on both medley relays at NCAAs. Brosheares has a best time of 52.93 in the 100.
Forrester has LCM best times of 1:01.43 and 2:13.16 and Sze Yeo has a best of 1:01.63 in the 100. Hann has a best LCM time of 1:01.43 and a best SCY time of 54.26 and Olsen has a LCM best of 1:01.59 and SCY best of 54.19.
Hann (1:59.17) and Olsen (1:59.28) have both been under the 2:00 mark already in the 200. It took a 1:56.14 to make NCAAs in the 200.
The IM group was led by Mackenzie Looze last year, and it looks to stay the same for this upcoming season as she takes a fifth year. Looze was fourth in the 200 IM and sixth in the 400 IM at Big Tens. Notably, the 400 IM was Indiana’s highest swimming points at Big Tens.
Looze missed out on the 400 IM B final at NCAAs by less than 0.3 seconds. She made the B final in the 200 IM at NCAAs ultimately finishing 13th with a 1:55.43 in finals.
Noelle Peplowski also made an impact on the IM group as she finished 37th with a 1:57.50 at NCAAs, although she came into the meet with a seed time of 1:55.88 which she swam at Big Tens. Her time from B1Gs would have snuck in for a spot in the B final.
The distance freestyle freshman duo of Denigan and Ching Hwee competed in the 400 IM at NCAAs finishing 33rd (Ching Hwee) and 34th (Denigan) respectively.
Diving has been Indiana’s biggest strength and continued to prove that this past season. The diving squad loses Kristen Hayden who was second in the 3 meter at NCAAs. She also was ninth off the platform and 11th off the 1 meter.
Fortunately, the team returns their highest scorer at both Big Tens and NCAAs with rising junior Tarrin Gilliland. Gilliland scored 47 points at NCAAs and was about half of the team’s 116 NCAA points. Gilliland won the platform, was third off the 3 meter, and was eighth on the 1 meter.
Also returning for the Hoosiers is rising junior Anne Fowler who scored five points at NCAAs after finishing 12th in the 1 meter.
Although they had all five relays at NCAAs, the Hoosiers only scored in two of them. They finished 15th in both the 200 medley and 800 freestyle relays. The same two relays were their highest scoring relays at Big Tens as they were highlighted by a second place finish at B1Gs in the 800 free relay.
With the addition of Paegle, the freestyle relays get a huge boost especially with the 200 and 400. Paegle also could boost the 400 medley as her flat start best of 48.00 is faster than Anna Peplowski’s rolling start split of 48.19 that she swam at NCAAs. If Paegle takes over for Anna Peplowski there, Anna Peplowski’s schedule could lighten at both Big Tens and NCAAs.
In addition, if the international freshman are able to turn their long course 50 free success into short course yards as well, the 200 free could be set up to improve even more.
Total Stars: 16/40
On the swimming end, the Hoosiers only look to get better especially with returning fifth years Mackenzie Looze and Noelle Peplowski. The incoming class will help fill in some gaps, especially with Kristina Paegle on the sprint freestyle end. Losing Hayden will sting on the diving end, but Gilliland proved her consistency winning back-to-back titles on the platform.
Anna Peplowski had a huge first season and if she keeps her momentum going, she could potentially be a huge threat to make an NCAA A final in either the 100 and 200 free or back.
In addition, most of the team’s swims were faster at Big Tens than they were at NCAAs. The team could easily add many more points on the swimming end at the national level if that is switched around.
The Hoosiers will face a challenge to finish 11th once again especially with the loss of Hayden. The return of Noelle Peplowski and Looze is huge though and for them to possibly move up, the team will need to hit their times from Big Tens.
Women’s Preview Index
|Team||Sprint Free||Distance Free||Backstroke||Breaststroke||Butterfly||IM||Diving||Relays||Total Stars|
|#8 California Golden Bears||★||★||★★★||★||★★★||★★★||★||★★★||16/40|
|#9 Ohio State Buckeyes||★★★||★★★||★★||★★★||★★||★★||★★★||★★★★||22/40|
|#10 Tennessee Volunteers||★★★||★★★★||★★★||★★★||★★★||★★★★||★||★★★||24/40|
|#11 Indiana Hoosiers||★★||★★||★||★★★||★||★★||★★★★||★||16/40|
|#12 Kentucky Wildcats||★||★||★★||★★★||★★||★★★||★★||★★||16/40|