Indiana Finishes 3rd at NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships

The Indiana University men’s swimming and diving program finished in 3rd place overall at the NCAA Championships in Minneapolis, good for their best finish in 43 years.

On the individual level, Ian Finnerty won national titles in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke, and Michael Hixon won the national title in the 1-meter dive competition.  Additionally, the 400 medley relay team of Gabriel Fantoni, Ian Finnerty, Vini Lanza and Blake Pieroni won the national title.

You can read our original preview and daily updates below.

DAILY UPDATES (NCAA CHAMPIONS IN BOLD)

Saturday

Here are the final team standings at the NCAA Championships:

1. Texas – 449

2. California – 437.5

3. Indiana – 422

The Indiana highlights on the day were as follows:

Ian Finnerty won the NCAA title in the 200 breaststroke with a Big Ten and school record time of 1:50.17.

Blake Pieroni took 4th overall in the 100 freestyle with a time of 41.51 and earned All-American honors.

Vini Lanza took 3rd in the Championship Final of the 200 butterfly with a Big Ten and school record time of 1:39.75 and earned All-American honors.

Andrew Capobianco took 3rd with a total of 435.30 in the Championship Final of the platform dive and earned All-American honors .

The IU 400 freestyle relay team of Mohamed Samy, Blake Pieroni, Bruno Blaskovic and Ali Khalafalla finish 6th with a time of 2:47.29 and earned All-American honors.

Friday

With one day remaining, IU is still in the overall team lead but it is too close to call.  It appears to be down to 3 teams:

  1. Indiana 325
  2. Texas 306
  3. California 291.5

The Indiana highlights of the day were as follows:

Ian Finnerty becomes the fastest man in history and the first to break 50-seconds, winning the NCAA title in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 49.69.

Vini Lanza took 3rd in the Championship Final of the 100 butterfly with a Big Ten and school record time of 44.50 and earning All-American honors.

Mohamed Samy had a career swim in the Championship Final of the 200 freestyle, taking 4th overall with a time of 1:31.73 and earning All-American honors.

Blake Pieroni took 2nd in the Championship Final of the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:30.23 and earning All-American honors.

Levi Brock with a personal-best time of 51.38 to finish 5th overall in the Championship Final of the 100 breaststroke and earning All-American honors.

Andrew Capobianco placed 8th overall in the Championship Final with a score of 381.60 in the 3-meter dive and earns All-American honors.

James Connor placed 6th in the Championship Final of the 3-meter dive with a total of 433.25 and earns All-American honors.

Michael Hixon placed 3rd in the Championship Final of the 3-meter dive with a score of 481.90 and earns All-American honors.

The Indiana 200 medley relay of Gabriel Fantoni, Ian Finnerty, Vini Lanza and Bruno Blaskovic placed 4th overall with a school-record time of 1:22.87

Thursday

It was a great day for the Hoosiers.  Indiana is currently in the lead with 169 total team points and although it is still very early, based on current projections the Hoosiers are the odds on favorite to win their 7th NCAA title.  Here’s how the team scores look at the end of Day 2:

  1. Indiana – 169
  2. NC State – 165
  3. Texas – 159
  4. Florida – 154
  5. Cal – 152.5

The Indiana highlights of the day were as follows:

The 400 medley relay team of Gabriel Fantoni, Ian Finnerty, Vini Lanza and Blake Pieroni won the NCAA title with a Big Ten and IU school record time of 3:01.07.

Michael Hixon won the NCAA title in the 1-meter diving competition with a total score of 464.40.

James Connor earned All-American honors with a 3rd place finish in the 1-meter diving competition with a total score of 440.55.

Blake Pieroni took 8th in the Championship Final of the 50 freestyle with a time of 19.17 and earned All-American honors.

Vini Lanza placed 6th in the Championship Final of the 200 IM and earned All-American honors with a Big Ten and school record time of 1:40.82.

Ian Finnerty earned All-America honors in the 200 IM, placing 8th in the Championship Final with a time of 1:44.25.

Wednesday

Just one event on the day, the 800 freestyle relays.  The Hoosiers relay team of Blake Pieroni, Mohamed Samy, Vini Lanza and Ian Finnerty finished in second place with a school record time of 6:06.01, earning All-American honors.

NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS PREVIEW

45 years.  It has been 45 years since the legendary Doc Counsilman and his Indiana Hoosiers won the last of an amazing six consecutive NCAA men’s swimming and diving championships from 1968 through 1973.  Six in a row.  It’s the kind of dominance that is rarely seen in competitive sports of any kind.

While the Hoosiers have generally been an elite national program ever since, they haven’t been able to get back to the top of the mountain.  That could change this week at the NCAA men’s swimming and diving championships in Minneapolis.  While Indiana is not a clear favorite to win it, as the No. 3 team in the country, they are part of a handful of programs that have a realistic chance.

If Indiana wins the title it would mark the 25th NCAA team championship in school history and the first since IU won the men’s soccer title in 2012.

While the Hoosiers haven’t been able to secure that elusive seventh national title, that hasn’t stopped them from continuing to fill up their trophy case.  A couple weeks ago IU won their 2nd straight Big Ten championship and the program’s 26th of all-time.  Indiana has finished in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships in five of the last six seasons, including a 7th place finish last year.

At the individual level, the program has produced 80 swimming and diving national champions.  Indiana may be able to add to that total behind a talented squad that includes Olympic medalists Blake Pieroni, Michael Hixon and James Connor.

Indiana at the 2018 Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships, February 23, 2018. (Photo/Craig Lassig)

ABOUT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS

The four day NCAA Championship meet begins on Wednesday night in Minneapolis with the 800 freestyle relay finals at 7:00 PM ET. The schedule for each of Thursday through Saturday will include prelims beginning at 11:00 AM ET, with the finals following at 7:00 PM ET.  The diving trials and finals will begin following the swimming prelims Thursday through Saturday.

You can see the complete schedule of events here.

HOW TO WATCH

All of the prelim sessions and the finals on Wednesday and Thursday will be available for free live streaming on on BTN2Go.com. The Friday and Saturday night finals can be streamed live on WatchESPN.

MEET THE HOOSIERS

Indiana will send a total of 14 swimmers and divers to the NCAA Championships this week.  The Hoosiers will also swim in all five relays.  Below is the list of the IU swimmers and divers who will compete in Minneapolis and the individual events in which they qualified to participate.

Bruno Blaskovic: 50 Freestyle, 100 Freestyle, 100 Butterfly
Levi Brock: 100 Breaststroke, 200 Breaststroke
Andrew Capobianco: 1-Meter Dive, 3-Meter Dive, Platform Dive
James Connor: 1-Meter Dive, 3-Meter Dive
Gabriel Fantoni: 100 Backstroke, 200 Backstroke, 100 Butterfly
Ian Finnerty: 100 Breaststroke, 200 Breaststroke, 200 IM
Michael Hixon: 1-Meter Dive, 3-Meter Dive
Ali Khalafalla: 50 Freestyle, 100 Freestyle, 100 Backstroke
Vini Lanza: 100 Butterfly, 200 Butterfly, 200 IM
Blake Pieroni: 50 Freestyle, 100 Freestyle, 200 Freestyle
Mohamed Samy; 100 Backstroke, 200 Backstroke, 200 Freestyle
Wilson Beckman: 400 Medley Relay
Nikola Miljenic: 200 Freestyle Relay
Josh Romany: 200 Freestyle Relay

THE COMPETITION

Based on qualifying times, IU’s main competition for the 2018 team title is North Carolina State, Texas, California and Florida.  North Carolina State is the favorite based on pre-meet times, while three-time defending champion Texas and California are more widely viewed as the favorites by the experts.  Nevertheless, Indiana is clearly one of the five programs that could take home the national championship on Saturday.

The Hoosiers that are expected to be competitive at the individual level include Lanza in the 200 IM and the 100 and 200 Butterfly, Pieroni in the 100 and 200 Freestyle, Samy in the 200 Freestyle and 200 Backstroke, Finnerty in the 100 and 200 Breast, Brock in the 100 and 200 Breast, and Fantoni in the 100 Backstroke.  Hixon and Connor are also expected to be highly competitive in their respective diving events.

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Main photo credit – Indiana University

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