The University of Indianapolis men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams traveled to downtown Indianapolis on Nov. 20-22 to take part in the 13th annual House of Champions meet at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. The men entered as the defending champions after taking first last year, and left with the same title this year. The women improved from last year’s finish in fifth to third this year. The men outshined five Division I schools along the way, and the women outdid three.
Prior to traveling to IUPUI, Head Swimming and Diving Coach Jason Hite said the team has decreased the amount of training to rest before the meet.
“The things we do on the quality end of practice, the race sets we do, those I want to be very clean and very much exactly like they [the swimmers] will do them in the race,” Hite said.
In Sundays competition, freshman Vitor Botana took first in the 1650 freestyle in 15:23.90 and beat the school record by nearly 10 seconds. In the A-final for the men’s 100 freestyle seniors Marius Bornkessel and Dawid Rybinski finished within .13 of each other. Bornkessel took second with a time of 45.40 and Rybinski took fourth finishing in 45.53. The top four swimmers finished within a half second of one another in the event. UIndy took four of the top six spots while competing in the men’s 200 breaststroke with junior Bartosz Zarzecki leading and taking second.
The women didn’t have any first places finishes, but senior Ana Couto took fourth in the 1650 freestyle. Sophomore Malvina Shoukri took fourth in the 100 freestyle.
On Saturday, sophomore Sebastian Konnaris, junior Tyler Coonradt, Zarzecki and Bornkessel took first in the 200 medley relay for the Hounds. Oancea broke a meet record in the 400 IM to take first place, junior Romano Hoffman and sophomore Nicholas Quigley followed, claiming second and third. Botana earned another first place finish, but this time in the 200 freestyle, missing the meet record by .06 seconds. In the 100 backstroke Zarzecki broke a meet record and took first place.
The women did not have any first place finishes, but in the 200 freestyle, senior Hannah Schuster placed third. Sophomore Laura Bem took fourth in the women’s 100 butterfly in the B-final.
Friday began with freshman Demetrakis Haholiades, Bornkessel, Hoffman and Coonradt earning first in the 200 freestyle relay after setting a meet record a year ago. Botana finished first once again, this time in the 500 freestyle. Botana beat Rybinski’s prior program record, and meet record by more than three seconds with a time of 4:25.19.
For the women, Stefanie took first place in the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.56 for the third best time in UIndy history. Shoukri took second and Schuster finished third in the B-final. Couto earned fourth in the 500 freestlye.
The two teams competed against the Grand Valley State University Lakers’ on Nov. 14. The women’s team lost 159-82 and the men’s team 134-109.
Hite said he was impressed with the teams’ performances against GVSU.
“Grand Valley is ranked higher than us … as a coach I like to see how the athletes respond. Our’s [athletes] did really well,” he said. “You could lay over and die and give up, or you can fight. And we fought really hard.”
Botana led the Hounds in first-place finishes, securing first place in the 1000 free and in the 500 free. In the 200 free, Konnaris claimed and Bornkessel clinched a first-place finish in the 50 free. Wrapping up first-place finishes for the men was Oancea in the 200 IM.
On the boards, freshman diver Dalton Cline finished second in the three-meter diving competition.
Prior to traveling to IUPUI, Rybinski said the loss to GVSU was nothing to be worried about.
“We all hate losing … we have the House of Champions meet next week [Nov. 20-22], so we need to be concentrated on that, along with conference and Nationals. We were close in every race [against Grand Valley], so it’s cool to see we still have space to improve.”
For the women, Haholiades was the lone first-place finisher for the women. She took first in the 50 free and again in the 100 free.
Hite said the team understands what needs to de done to get the results that they want.
“Our results are completely based on how we do at Nationals. That is [the] ultimate goal with this program,” Hite said. “We would love to do really well and win our conference meet, but ultimately, this team is about doing the best we can nationally against all of Division II teams.”
Despite this being Hite’s first year as a Greyhound head coach, senior Michelle Mikaelsson believes that Hite connects with his swimmers on a different level than in the Hounds previous years.
“I just am really focused for preparing myself later this season. It helps with the coach pushing you and being really involved,” she said.
Hite called UIndy a different place from where he was during the last three years.
“I’ve coached at Drury University. Drury won 30 national titles in the past 20 years,” Hite said. “This team [UIndy] has never won a National title on the team side … so it’s just a different place.”
Hite said he recognizes that the team needs to build and get better to get to where it needs to be.
“We’re going to keep building up from here, and you know [we] continue to build the team in the right direction,” he said. “That means the team unity, understanding the expectations in the classroom, and the kids understanding the need to be selfless, with our teammates and around the community, too,” Hite said.
After competing at IUPUI, UIndy will not compete until January of 2016. In the meantime, the men and women will pick up their training regimen.
“We’ll be training our butts off [in our time off]. I mean swimming is a unique sport where you really only rest for your big, big meets,” Hite said. “You don’t have to play fresh. … Our wins and losses don’t really matter. The only thing that matters for swimmers is how you do at conference and how you do at Nationals. … So we’ll go back to training really hard and swim those meets in January very tired. And then in February, we’ll rest again for conference and be really fresh there.
The next swimming and diving meet for UIndy is at the Florida International Relays in Miami, Fla. on Jan. 10. The meet is set to begin at noon.