Big Ten Weekly Analysis: Indiana Validates Stellar Season With Title

Photo Courtesy: David Wegiel

By Dan D’Addona.

The B1G men’s championship meet had a lot of fast times and impressive performances, capped by Indiana’s first conference title since 2006.

It has been a huge year for the Hoosiers, who at one time were ranked No. 1 in the nation. The B1G title was the 25th in program history.

Winning for the first time in a decade was impressive enough, but it was how the Hoosiers won that made the meet even more memorable. Indiana (1,504 points) used several 1-2 finishes and had some stunning relay performances to hold off Michigan and Ohio State, which had some stellar swims and tied for second with 1,382.

Indiana won 12 events, which is the most for the program since the Hoosiers won 13 event titles in 1976. The Hoosiers were led by dominating performances from Vinicius Lanza and Blake Pieroni.

Lanza was named B1G Swimmer of the Championships after winning four gold medals and one silver over the course of the week. The sophomore won gold in the 200 IM, 200 butterfly, 200 medley relay and 400 medley relay. Lanza claimed silver in the 100 butterfly. Lanza was just the fourth Hoosier swimmer to earn the accolade. Lanza put an exclamation point on his tremendous Big Ten Championships, winning gold in the 200 butterfly with a school and pool record time of 1:40.97. Lanza’s time is also a NCAA A cut and gives him the top-eight marks in school history. Lanza’s win in the 200 butterfly is the first for the Hoosiers since 1985

Pieroni continued his dominance in the 100 freestyle, defending his crown and winning gold on Saturday with a Big Ten, Big Ten Meet and school record time of 41.44. Pieroni is the first Hoosier to break 42 seconds with his NCAA A cut time. Pieroni’s win in the event marks the 10th time in program history that a Hoosier has touched first in the 100 free. Pieroni’s time is currently second-fastest in the country this season.

Michigan’s biggest performance came from freshman Felix Auböck.

Auböck was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. The Austrian made quite an impression at his first Big Ten Championships, sweeping the 500- and 1,650-yard freestyles and picking up a bronze in the 200-yard freestyle.

His time of 14:29.25 beat Northwestern Olympian Jordan Wilimovsky by five seconds and Auböck now holds the third-fastest time in school history and finds his name sandwiched between four Olympic medalists, trailing only Chris Thompson and Connor Jaeger, but ahead of both Tom Dolan and Peter Vanderkaay.

For Ohio State, Matt McHugh led the charge with a win in the 100 butterfly (44.91). He teamed with Mossimo Chagez, Josh Fleagle and Thomas Trace to win the 200 freestyle relay (1:16.61). Both were school records. The Buckeyes set six more school records in the meet.

The B1G meet had an impressive showing from Indiana, Michigan and Ohio State. Now it is time to see if they can challenge for the NCAA title.