The Indiana Hoosiers kept their 2014-2015 season rolling with solid wins over Tennessee and Kentucky at the Volunteer triangular Friday night.
The Lady Hoosiers were dominant, putting together 1-2 and 1-2-3 sweeps in multiple events, while the men had to fight off a tough Tennessee team.
Indiana got a lot of credit last offseason for their recruiting class, and that crew has already started to have some noticeable impacts on the NCAA. Most obvious Friday was freestyler Kennedy Goss, who continued what’s been a great freshman season thus far with wins in all three of her individual races.
Goss led a 1-2 Hoosier sweep in the 200 free early on. Her 1:46.45 led the way – that’s just a few tenths off a season-best for Goss, who ranks 4th in the nation right now, one spot ahead of Olympic champion Missy Franklin. Cynthia Pammet was second for IU.
Then Goss came back to win the 100 free, touching out Tennessee’s All-American Faith Johnson 49.86 to 49.93. That was a big win to knock down Tennessee, who had started to heat up through the middle of the meet lineup.
Finally, Goss led the Hoosiers in the killing strike, a 1-2-3 sweep of the 500 free late in the contest. Goss was 4:48.83 with Haley Lips and Stephanie Marchuk coming in behind her. Marchuk and Lips also combined to go 1-2 in the 1650 free, with Marchuk winning in 16:37.63.
Reigning NCAA backstroke champ Brooklynn Snodgrass won twice for Indiana. The Canadian went 53.57 to run away with the 100 back, then blasted a 1:54.53 to win the 200-yard distance later on.
Kentucky won 4 events with its two top athletes. Senior Christina Bechtel swept the butterfly events, going 53.72 in the 100 and 1:57.92 in the 200. The latter of those events saw Bechtel absolutely crush a tough field by two full seconds. Also winning for the Wildcats was diver Christa Cabot, who scored 306.40 on 3-meter and 301.60 on 1-meter.
Tennessee was the biggest challenger to IU’s dominance, but they did most of their work based on depth. The Vols did win three individual events, though, two of them from breaststroker Molly Hannis. Hannis, a senior, won the 100 breast in 1:00.57, which moves her to 3rd in the NCAA this year and nearly made her the first woman to crack a minute this year.
She one-upped that in the 200, going 2:09.24 to take over the top spot in the entire nation for the 2014-2015 season. She won the event by an astounding 9 seconds.
Also winning for Tennessee was Faith Johnson, the team’s top sprinter. Johnson went 22.91 to pace the 50 free, with freshman Alex Cleveland tying for second behind her.
Indiana stumbled out of the gate, DQ’ing their 200 medley relay on a false start from their anchor. That was a big points loss, exacerbated by Tennessee going 1-2 in the relay for huge points. The Vols go ta 1:40.90 from their top team, led by a stunning 26.92 from Hannis on the breaststroke leg.
But the Hoosiers quickly regained their footing, and were firmly in control by the time they won the final 400 free relay. The team of Goss, Snodgrass, Lips and Grace Vertigans went 3:21.21 to beat Tennessee, with the distance swimmer Lips splitting 49.35.
That came one event after Indiana’s other individual win – the 400 IM, where Dorina Szekeres was 4:17.93.
The Indiana men were also led by a good young freestyler, sophomore Anze Tavcar. Tavcar, like Goss, won three events to power the Hoosiers past Tennessee and Kentucky.
Tavcar led 1-2 punches in both the 200 and 100 frees. He took over the nation’s top spot in the 200 free early on, going 1:36.08 to claim the win. Second was freshman Blake Pieroni at 1:36.29, which ranks second in the nation, pending the results of this weekend’s other duals.
Tavcar and Pieroni also 1-2’d the 100 free, with Tavcar going 43.69 to move to #2 in the NCAA. Pieroni was 44.34. In between, Tavcar won the 50 free with a 20.10.
Tennessee had its own triple winner in freshman Sam McHugh. Their top recruit took the longer races compared to Tavcar’s sprint lineup. McHugh first went 1:46.72 to claim the 200 fly over Indiana’s stud Steve Schmuhl. McHugh returned to win the 500 free in 4:27.26 over Pieroni, and added a 400 IM win for good measure. In that IM race, McHugh was 3:52.60 in a 1-2 with 200 breast champ Tristan Slater.
Tennessee actually outdid Indiana in total wins, 9 to 7. But the Hoosiers were a little deeper, and caught a big break when Tennessee disqualified its 400 free relay to end the meet. Tennessee’s relay would have been second, but a false start wiped those points off the board and gave IU the 1-2 finish. The Vols still would have lost the meet had the relay not DQ’d, though, so the sting wasn’t quite as bad.
That winning IU relay saw Tavcar combine with Pieroni, Max Irwin and Yianni Thermos to go 2:57.20. Tavcar was 43.69 leading off.
Irwin also won the 100 fly just a few events prior, going 48.34.
Indiana dominated diving, with NCAA champ and Texas transfer Michael Hixon blowing away the fields on both boards. On 1-meter, he led a 1-2 finish with freshman teammate James Connor.
Tennessee won the 200 medley to open the meet. Sean Lehane led off in 22.64, and freshman Peter Stevens split a blazing 23.66 on breaststroke to give the Vols an early lead. Chris Sadsad (21.79) and Troy Tillman (19.95) shut the door late as the team went 1:28.04, the 5th-best time in the NCAA so far.
Lehane and Stevens also won individual races. Lehane took the 200 back in 1:44.48, just a tenth off his NCAA-leading time. Teammate Jimmy Dagley, who won the 100 back earlier in the meet, was second. Stevens, meanwhile, won the 100 breast in 54.23.
Tennessee’s other winner was David Heron, who took the mile to open the meet in 15:24.13, another Tennessee 1-2.