When the Big Ten Women’s Swim and Dive championships get underway at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center in Bloomington Wednesday night, it will be the first time since 2011 that Indiana has hosted the event.
That year also happens to be the last time the Hoosiers won the event. But IU swim coach Ray Looze and IU dive coach Drew Johansen are confident in their team’s ability to get the job done at home. Looze believes the Hoosiers swim and dive extremely well in their home pool.
The event gets going Wednesday night and continues through the weekend. There are worthy competitors and the Hoosiers know they will have to bring their ‘A’ game.
The Big Ten Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships will be held at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatics Center next week.
— The Hoosier Network (@TheHoosierNet) February 15, 2019
“It’s going to be a packed house, standing room only,” Looze said. “We swim and dive extremely well in this building. We’re looking forward to taking full advantage of that. It’s been since 2011 that the women’s Big Ten’s has been here. It’s been a long wait and we just can’t wait to get started.”
The biggest competition in this year’s championships, and the favorites, has to be the Michigan Wolverines. Michigan comes in as three-time defending champions. And already this year, the Wolverines have come to Bloomington and knocked off the Hoosiers, 172-128.
And when Michigan comes to town again this week, there is an expectation it could win its fourth straight championship. But from Indiana’s perspective, the Hoosiers have to hope the Wolverines can trip up a little bit. And don’t count out the third place finishers from last year, the Ohio State Buckeyes. To knock off the Wolverines though, Looze gave a simple (sarcastic) answer.
“We have to swim better and them and dive better than them,” Looze said with a smile. “We just have to do our thing. We’re not that balanced of the team, but we have to get points where we can get them. The sooner we can send a message that we’re any sort of threat to them, the better because that will apply a bit of pressure. The longer they’re under stress and pressure, then we can look across the pool and see crisis management occurring. We have to squeeze the pressure around them so they start to make some mistakes. They’re going to need to leave the door open with mistakes or bad swims for us to have any sort of shot.”
He went on to add there isn’t necessarily a certain swim where they could trip up, but he just hopes they have a bad meet.
This event also marks the final competitive event in Bloomington for Indiana’s seniors. Most notably, that includes swimmer Lilly King and diver Jessica Parratto. Both have established impressive resumes during their time at Indiana.
Both Parratto and King have set themselves up in good positions for the NCAA Championships in Austin come March. But in the mean time, Johansen is excited to see Parratto dive for the final time in Bloomington.
“It will be her last competitive dive as a Big Ten champion that she is,” Johansen said. “Hopefully we find another title or two, but mostly it’s going to be Jessica being Jessica. She’s excited, she’s healthy, in great shape, she’s leading a young team in what will become the next leaders for our women’s diving program and I think she takes great pride in that. She’s looking to have her own great performances, but also wants to boost her teammates to deliver their top performances as well.”
Looze considers the pool at the CBAC as a fast pool, which he thinks could play into Indiana’s advantage. And with the crowd they are expecting, it could be a raucous atmosphere.
For Johansen, he said he was at the 2011 event when he was on the Ohio State staff. It was raucous then and he is excited to see like that again, but in his favor this time around.
“This will be my first time hosting the event here,” Johansen said. “The energy in here was pretty darn intimidating, so I’m really looking forward to having that to my advantage and be a part of hosting such a great championship.”