On Jan. 23, a University of Indianapolis swimming record was broken by freshman swimmer Landon Driggers. In a meet at Miami University in Ohio, Driggers put up a time of 3:49.02 which crushed a three-year-old record in the 400 Individual Medley according to UIndy Athletics. According to Driggers, it was not a question of if he was going to take the record but when.
“I had it coming in as an incoming freshman, but I didn’t know if I would be able to do it at that meet,” Driggers said. “I knew I would be able to do it though at conferences and nationals.”
The goal is to rewrite the record books every five years, according to Head Swimming and Diving Coach Jason Hite. He said that those records changing are a major part of the way the program is evaluated.
“If you’re not rewriting the record books every five years, your program just is not progressing. I look at those records as an indicator of what we as a staff are bringing in and recruiting,” Hite said. “It’s a good indication of the youth of our team. It’s a good indication that we have power from the seniors all the way down to the freshmen. But you know, it’s what our expectation is. Our expectation is to bring in people every year that will help us continue to progress and stay at the top of DII swim and dive.”
Hite said he had been working with Driggers on the butterfly part of the event, which is the start of the event, and he said that Driggers came out aggressively for that part. He said that Driggers’ best stroke is the backstroke so he took off in that part of the event, but during the breaststroke is when he realized what was happening.
“About halfway through the breaststroke is when I said to our other two assistant coaches that were at [the] Miami of Ohio meet, ‘He’s going to break that record. He’s going to break that fricking record,’” Hite said. “And sure enough, he didn’t just break it. He beat it by almost five seconds.”
According to Hite, what makes this record even more impressive is that Driggers was able to do it un-tapered. Hite said that unlike sports like basketball and football, the individual meets between teams do not have as much of an impact. Hite said that the times that swimmers put up throughout the season matter the most as those are what get the Hounds into nationals. He said because of that, the swimmers rarely are fully-rested throughout the season, but now as the Hounds approach the GLVC Championships from Feb. 10 through Feb. 13, the tapering starts.
“You back off, you get more rest, you do less yards, you do a little bit more speed work and quality work,” Hite said. “People are rested and then they shave and then we wear these special suits … tech suits are what they’re called … [They] make you squeeze everything in and make you a little bit more buoyant, just make you faster. It’s a five, six hundred dollar piece of technology that is a little bit ridiculous, but it’s what everybody uses. So we give them every opportunity to swim as fast as they possibly can.”
For the GLVC Championships, Hite said the competition is extremely fierce this season with the men having five of the best teams in the country, including UIndy, competing within the conference. He said that the teams on the women’s side are just as strong with Drury University and Lindenwood University being ranked in the top 10 of the nation alongside UIndy. However, Hite said that challenge is beneficial to the team.
“So it’s always very competitive, which is a huge advantage for everybody to have that competitiveness in the meet because it prepares you for the national championships, but the expectation is to win,” Hite said. “We want to go in there and we want to bring home titles. That’s what my boss wants me to do, so that’s what we’re going to do.”