BLOOMINGTON, Ind., November 17. THE No. 12 Indiana women and the No. 13 Indiana men are both ahead of their competitors at their own Invite after the first day of competition.
Vaziri and Loukas – perhaps the Hoosiers' most consistent performers on the young season – earned wins in the 50-yard freestyle and the one-meter springboard, respectively.
Vaziri turned in a time of 23.59 to take first in the 50 free, topping Purdue's Susan Hentschel by just 0.10 seconds. Vaziri finished second in the morning's preliminary session behind the Boilermakers' Kimbre Vogel.
Loukas remained undefeated on the season, winning the preliminary, semifinal and final sessions of the one-meter. Loukas was the only diver to top 300 points in the first round, posting a score of 301.25, then notched 313.25 points to lead the pack in the semis. Loukas turned in a score of 312.90 in the final round to secure the win.
Joining Loukas in the final were teammates Lindsay Weigle, Brittney Feldman, Jade Summerlin and Ashley Greene. Weigle finished fifth in the championship final, scoring 278.80 points, while Feldman was eighth with 259.35 points. Summerlin was right behind her in ninth (249.10 points) and Greene finished 12th (222.45).
"I was pleased," head diving coach Dr. Jeff Huber said. "I thought we really showed all the way across the board a lot of improvement, and normally we don't see quite that much, so I was pleased. We did a lot of dives today. They did prelims, semis and finals all within about a four-hour period, and I thought our consistency was very good. That's a big part of it. We want to see improvement on our top dives, but we also want to see improvement in our average score. They're tired. We practiced every day this week. We haven't done anything to rest them. I hope they're dead tired and ready for a break over Thanksgiving."
Freshman Emma Berry continued to impress early in her career, turning in a career-best time of 4:54.36 to take second in the championship final of the 500-yard freestyle. Berry had the top time in the morning preliminary session. Classmate Cassie Luhrsen also finaled in the event, taking fifth in 4:58.79. Fellow freshman Amilee Smith won the consolation final in 4:57.02.
Vaziri led the way for the Hoosiers in the 200-yard individual medley, turning in a fourth-place finish in 2:05.85. Freshmen Ashley Jones and Presley Bard also earned spots in the finals, finishing fifth (2:06.10) and seventh (2:07.14), respectively. Sophomore Sarah Stockwell narrowly missed a spot in the finals with the ninth-best time in the preliminaries, finishing just 0.01 seconds out of the top eight. She rebounded to turn in a time of 2:06.46 in the consolation final, good for an 11th-place finish.
After opening the evening session with a third-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay, Indiana closed the day with a win on the 400-yard medley relay. Bard, Stockwell, Vaziri and Clarissa Wentworth combined for a time of 3:46.22 to win the event by more than a full second.
"We swam a lot of off events, and I was pleased with certain aspects of people doing things they don't normally do," head coach Ray Looze said. "No one individual tonight really shined, maybe outside of Sarah Stockwell. Her IM was exceptional, and her 1:03.1 split on the relay was good, as well. But beyond that, this is for us a bit of a training meet, and we're kind of working our way through it methodically. I always like to see people swim as fast as they're capable at this time of year, but we'll try to work on it a little bit more tomorrow and see if we can't drop our times from where they were today."
The Indiana men picked up a pair of wins in the finals of the first day. Todd Patrick won the 200-yard individual medley in an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 1:49.01, and Taylor Roberts took the three-meter springboard with a score of 350.25 for the Hoosiers' lone wins on the day.
Roberts improved his showing in each round, posting a fourth-place finish in the preliminary round before turning in a third-place showing with his next six dives in the semifinal round. He was joined in the finals by teammates David Legler and Justin Montrie, and former Indiana diver Jesse Rappaport. Legler finished fifth with 296.60 points in the final, while Montrie was eighth with 281.10. Rappaport was fourth with 304.30 points.
IU placed eight swimmers in a total of nine finals after their performances in the preliminaries. In addition to Patrick's win, Indiana got top-five finishes from Alex Brunfeldt and John Kevin Koehler and a second-place finish in the 400-yard medley relay.
Brunfeldt, who won his preliminary heat, finished third in the 500-yard freestyle final, turning in a time of 4:33.18. Koehler, who won his heat and had the fastest overall time in the morning session, finished fourth in 4:34.50. Steffan Troxel also swam in the championship final, touching eighth in 4:48.07. Sophomore Michael Son won the bonus final for the Hoosiers, turning in a solid swim of 4:41.96.
Former Hoosier All-American Sergiy Fesenko won the championship final in 4:20.69.
Patrick, Ben Hesen, Lee Houchin and Nick Walkotten got the evening session started with a second-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The quartet turned in a time of 1:23.48, finishing a close second to Louisville's squad, which finished in 1:23.21.
Patrick had familiar company in the finals of the 200 IM, as Hesen, A.J. Miller, Steven Murry and former Hoosier All-American Kevin Swander all earned spots in the championship heat. Swander finished third (1:52.06), while Murry was fourth (1:53.84), Miller was sixth (1:55.06) and Hesen finished eighth (1:56.53). Freshman Frazier Miller won the bonus final of the event in 1:56.44.
With a win in his heat and the third-best overall time in the 50-yard freestyle in the morning session, Patrick earned a spot in the finals of that event, as well. He finished seventh in the championship heat, turning in a time of 21.56, and was followed by Lee Houchin in eighth (22.02). Indiana sophomore Matt Lenton, swimming unattached, was touched out in the event, finishing second in 20.51.
IU closed the evening session with a second-place effort in the 400-yard medley relay. Hesen, Ronald Hehn, Patrick and Houchin combined to post a time of 3:24.29 in the event.
The IU Open Invitational continues on Saturday, Nov. 18, with prelims set for 9 a.m. and finals slated for 6 p.m.