The Indiana men graduated their top sprint freestyler, US National Teamer Zach Apple, off a 400 free relay that finished 4th at last year’s NCAA Championship meet, but early returns on the 2019-2020 season indicate that the Indiana sprint group hasn’t missed a beat.
As part of a 171-129 win over the Louisville Cardinals on Friday evening on the road in Louisville, Indiana swam a 2:52.84. That’s the fastest time nationally by a non-invite relay this season, bumping NC State’s 2:53.27 done last weekend against rivals Virginia. It’s also the 16th-fastest relay done by any team in the country during the current NCAA season.
Indiana Hoosiers 400 Free Relay Splits:
- Bruno Blaskovic, junior – 43.76
- Mohamed Samy, senior – 43.22
- Van Mathias, sophomore – 43.01
- Jack Franzman, sophomore – 42.85
Franzman’s team-leading split of 42.85 is already almost as fast as the 42.21 that he swam at last year’s NCAA Championship meet. This relay was accomplished without using freshman Brendan Burns, who split 42.6 on the team’s mid-season A relay. Burns split 44.71 on the “B” relay leadoff leg. He and Mathias will be battling for the right to replace the now-graduated Apple come championship season.
Indiana is in the very-early stages of its final preparations for the Big Ten Championships, which for the men will run February 26th-29th in their home pool in Bloomington.
Sprint freestyle was once the Achilles heel of the Indiana men’s team, but after bringing in consecutively Dennis Dale from Minnesota and Coley Stickels, now the head coach at Alabama, to rebuild the sprint group, that is a story of the past.
The Indiana men rank 4th in the country overall this season thanks to a 2:50.11 done at their mid-season invite. That’s .55 seconds slower than they were a year earlier at their mid-season invite.