The Indiana Hoosiers have wrapped up one of the more impressive dual meet seasons in recent memory with a perfect 11-0 record – and not just any 11-0, either.
The team swam a loaded schedule that included 4 wins over teams that expect to finish in the top 5 at the NCAA Championships, and at least 7 wins over teams expected to finish in the top 20 at NCAAs. That includes a pair of victories, one in long course and one in short course, over the defending NCAA Champions from Texas – who based on results from the last month have regained their status as the NCAA Championship favorites.
Note: rankings based on current SwimSwam Power Rankings.
- Indiana def. #2 Texas 149-132 (LCM)
- Indiana def. #5 Florida 181-100 (LCM)
- Indiana def. #2 Texas 161.5-119.5
- Indiana def. #5 Florida 204-77
- Indiana def. Kentucky 195-105
- Indiana def. #17 Tennessee 200-100
- Indiana def. Michigan State 169-119
- Indiana def. Cincinnati 195-102
- Indiana def. #13 Michigan 167-133
- Indiana def. Purdue 182.5-117.5
- Indiana def. #11 Louisville 195-105
Indiana has historically not been this good in dual meets. Last season, they were 8-7. The year before, they lost to Michigan, Texas, Lousiville, and Ohio State. But as the team has settled into a schedule with more-and-more dual meets, their results in those dual meets has greatly improved.
The Indiana men finished 9th at last year’s NCAA Championship with 180.5 points – 3.6 behind Missouri for 8th, and 7.5 behind Tennessee for 7th. Among the teams that beat them in the regular season, they jumped Michigan (who won the dual meet 176-118) and UNC (who won the dual meet 146-152). They beat Tennessee 156-144 in the regular season, but Tennessee jumped them by a few points at NCAAs. By-and-large, the team tended to be close to, but a little slower than, their seed times at NCAAs (which is in line with the national tendency), but their team finish on balance came out about where their regular season results projected they might.
The big question for the Hoosiers is whether they will repeat their solid performance at NCAAs in 2017 after such impressive regular-season results. Working in their favor is the return of their NCAA Champion diver Michael Hixon, who sat out last season to prepare for the Olympics. Divers, without the same peak-and-taper concerns as swimmers, are usually more stable results come March. They also have added All-American transfer Marwan Al-Kamash from South Carolina – who’s an All-American.
And most importantly, Blake Pieroni has gone from a solid, mid-final freestyler to an Olympic gold medalist.
There are questions to be answered for this Indiana team. On paper, if they’ve played their season straight, they have the makings of a top 5 team in March. In the minds of many, their regular season success will decrease expectations for NCAAs, with insinuations of an empty honey-hole from too much rest too many times (citation: the pending comments section of this article). But, the Hoosier’s results have caught the national attention for good or for bad. If Ray Looze’s crew backs up their success in Indy, where they’ll have as close to a home-pool advantage as any team that expects to score at the meet, this could be a turning point to give the program a seat at the table of the nation’s perennial powerhouses.