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‘We’re going to do it’: Lilly King and Jessica Parratto lead Indiana swim and dive to Big Ten title

Lilly King competes in the 2019 Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships in Bloomington. (Mark Timko/HN)

Lilly King knew Indiana was going to win the Big Ten Championship before anyone stepped foot in the pool, and it all started at Noodles and Company.

King was sitting at the Bloomington restaurant on Kirkwood Avenue last week with her friends when she knew the Hoosiers would pull out their first Big Ten Championship since 2011.

“I was like, ‘we’re going to do it,’” King said of the moment she knew. “They were like, ‘wait, you’ve never actually said that out loud before’ and I said, ‘it’s because you guys are going to do it.’”

Then when swimmers and divers got in the pool starting Wednesday, the Hoosiers backed up King’s epiphany. Indiana scored 1,386.5, beating second-place Michigan’s 1,302.5 to win the team’s sixth Big Ten title.

The Hoosiers came into the Championships as the home team for the first time since 2011, but not the favorites. That was the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines, a team who had won the three previous championships.

IU swim coach Ray Looze said Michigan was going to have to drop points, and when they did, his team would have to capitalize. When it came down to it, the Hoosiers did capitalize. They even wrapped up the title before the last event of the meet.

“It’s just such an unexpected title,” Looze said. “We talked a lot about winning it, but actually doing it, is another thing. I give a lot of credit to Michigan, but I give most of credit to our team.”

The title was buoyed in wins by diver Jessica Parratto in the 1-meter and platform dives, King’s 100 and 200 breaststrokes, Bailey Andison’s 400 individual medley, and the team’s the 200 and 400 medley relays.

All of those wins had Indiana leading at the end of each day, except for Wednesday, where the Hoosiers trailed Michigan by just six points. Because of that, Indiana kept the pressure on the Wolverines throughout and it paid off in the end.

“We came out hot, like really, really almost at a perfect clip,” Looze said. “It couldn’t have worked out better and we really applied pressure. First night, not so much, second day and the third day, just going up by 111 points, I don’t think they ever imagined that. It was too big of a lead.”

Saturday’s win also marked the end of an era in Bloomington for King and Parratto. The two seniors have officially competed for the last time at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center.

The two have accomplished a ton during their respective careers at IU, but this was the first team award for them together. Because of that, both Parratto and King expressed how important winning this title is to them and the team.

“I hope we made our mark like we set out to do,” Parratto said. “To do it by her side, as well, has been very special and I think that we’ve definitely set a standard for divers and swimmers to come here.”

The title was celebrated with trophies, shirts, hats and a team jump in the pool. But that isn’t the end of the season for the Hoosiers. Many will compete in the NCAA Championships in Austin in March. But until then, the Hoosiers can savor how sweet this title feels.

To do it at home, to beat Michigan and to win the last home meet for King and Parratto is the ultimate trio for the Hoosiers.

“If you ask them, this is one of the most meaningful achievements in their athletic careers,” Looze said.

I am a senior from Seattle, Washington majoring in Media. I am formerly of the Indiana Daily Student where I covered Indiana men’s soccer team and women’s basketball. You still can find me broadcasting for WIUX Student Radio and on BTN Student U outside of The Hoosier Network. Former intern at 710 ESPN Seattle and broadcaster for the Falmouth Commodores. Email: Follow me on Twitter: @JoshEastern.

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