The No. 3-ranked Indiana University men’s swimming and diving team had the best night at the NCAA Championships in 41 years on Thursday at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center in Minneapolis, Minn.
Indiana won two NCAA titles on Thursday night, surging to the top of the team leaderboard with 169 points. NC State sits in second with 165 points, while Texas is third with a total of 159.
Michael Hixon won the first individual NCAA title for the Hoosiers since 2008, winning the crown in the 1-meter dive with a total of 464.40. The NCAA title is the third in Hixon’s career, who won the 1-meter and 3-meter championships his freshman year at Texas.
The NCAA championship is the first diving title for Indiana since Mark Lenzi won the 1-meter in 1990. Hixon’s great score of 464.40 on Thursday ranks as the seventh-best score in IU history.
James Connor made it a 1-3 finish for the Hoosiers in the event, placing third overall with a score of 440.55. The redshirt junior’s total is the 10th-best in program history.
In the Consolation Final of the 1-meter dive, freshman Andrew Capobianco placed 11th overall with a score of 348.90. Hoosier diving was huge on Thursday, earning an impressive 42 points.
Just about 20 minutes after the 1-meter dive, Indiana won a second NCAA title, touching first in the Championship Final of the 400 medley relay. The Hoosier team of Gabriel Fantoni, Ian Finnerty, Vini Lanza and Blake Pieroni won with a Big Ten, school and pool record time of 3:01.07.
The relay title is the first for the program since 1977, when IU also took home the championship in the 400 medley relay. The two NCAA crowns in one year is a first for the Hoosiers since 1977. The two victories give Indiana 82 NCAA titles in program history.
In the Championship Final of the 200 IM, Lanza took sixth overall with a Big Ten and IU school record time of 1:40.82. Finnerty placed eighth in the A-Final with a time of 1:44.25, marking the first time since 1975 that IU had two swimmers in the Championship Final of the 200 IM.
For the first time since 1976, the Hoosiers had a swimmer in the Championship Final of the 50 freestyle. Pieroni took eighth overall in the A-Final, touching the wall in a time of 19.17 – the seventh-best time in school history.
In the 200 freestyle relay, the IU team of Ali Khalafalla, Blake Pieroni, Bruno Blaskovic and Josh Romany won the Consolation Final to place ninth overall with a school record time of 1:16.31.
A total of 10 Hoosiers earned All-America or Honorable-Mention All-America honors on Thursday. Pieroni earned his staggering fourth of the week to give him 16 for his career, while both Lanza (12th career) and Finnerty (7th career) earned their third of the week.
Khalafalla earned his 10th career honor while Hixon notched his seventh. Connor earned the sixth of his career, while Romany earned his second. Blaskovic, Fantoni and Capobianco all earned the first of their careers.
The No. 3-ranked Indiana University Hoosiers will continue competition at the 2018 NCAA Championships on Friday morning with the prelims of the 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke, 200 medley relay and 3-meter dive. Action gets underway at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center at 11:00 a.m. ET.