Indiana Senior, Croatian Olympic Hopeful Bruno Blaskovic (Back) Out 6-8 Months

Photo Courtesy: Andrew Mascharka/Indiana Athletics

Indiana Big Ten champion Bruno Blaskovic will miss six to eight months, including the Tokyo Olympics, due to a fractured vertebra.

Blaskovic was diagnosed with a fracture in his L4 vertebra, according to a report by the Indianapolis Star. He will need to wear a back brace for six to eight months.

“I’m trying to keep the day busy so I don’t think too much about it,” Blaskovic told the Star.

Blaskovic was the Big Ten Swimmer of the Meet in 2020 after winning the 50 freestyle in 18.97 seconds and the 100 freestyle in 41.88. He was also the runner-up in the 100 butterfly (45.44) and part of the winning 200 medley, 400 medley, 200 free and 400 free relays.

He was seeded third in the 50 free, third in the 100 free and 10th in the 100 fly at the 2020 NCAA Championships, which were cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Blaskovic, 22, represented Croatia at the 2019 World Championships, finishing 27th in the 100 free and 33rd in the 50 free. He has Olympic B cuts in both events. His career-best times in both events – 22.06 in the 50, 48.88 in the 100, per his bio on Indiana’s website – are just .05 and .31 seconds away from auto cuts, respectively.

He last competed Jan. 16 in a tri-meet against Michigan and Northwestern, where he said he felt tightness in his back, but he couldn’t identify a specific incident that led to the injury. IU coach Ray Looze suspected months of unsupervised workouts during lockdowns might have contributed.

Blaskovic spent time in Brazil training with Indiana teammate Gabriel Fantoni during the COVID-19 before returning to his home country for lockdown. He told the Star he’s hoping to train on to the 2024 Paris Games.

“The only question is if my body is able to handle it,” he said.

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