No. 6 Indiana Opens NCAA Meet with Two Top-Five Relays


MINNEAPOLIS – Indiana men’s swimming and diving placed top five in both opening night relays on Wednesday (March 22) at the 2023 NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships inside the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center.

IU placed fifth in the 200-yard medley relay to kick off the meet, then finished the night with a fourth-place finish in the 800 freestyle relay. Both relays improved time and beat their seeds coming in.

The No. 6-ranked Hoosiers sit fifth in the team standings with 58 points after two events, and Arizona State leads the pack with 68 points.

Indiana earned its best finish and first podium in the 200 medley relay since placing fourth at the 2018 meet, held in the same facility. IU broke its previous program record (1:22.51) by 99-tenths of a second.

 It was a wire-to-wire win of the second of three heats as Indiana posted the time to beat going into the final heat. Junior Brendan Burns kicked things off with a 20.60 backstroke split followed by senior Mathias’ 22.53 in the breaststroke. Junior Tomer Frankel posted the third-fastest butterfly leg in 19.56 and junior Gavin Wight closed things out in 18.83.

“It was just a really good first night for the Hoosiers,” IU head swimming coach Ray Looze said. “The medley was a mystery to us because we did not do well at Big Tens, took third in the conference. We knew we had a better one, but we weren’t sure what we had. Brendan just did a phenomenal job putting us in a good position, and then everybody after did their job. When you can win that second-to-last heat, sometimes it gives you a chance to get your relay into the top eight, where, obviously, the points can be very valuable. But, they won it going away, which was great, and destroyed the school record in the process.”

Three Hoosiers returned 45 minutes later for the 800 freestyle relay. The lone new face, sophomore Rafael Miroslaw went 1:32.51 in the opening leg. Frankel followed with a 1:32.06. Seventh at the halfway mark, Brendan Burns blasted a 1:31.78 split to put Indiana in third going into the final 200 yard. Mathias anchored the relay, going 1:31.62 as IU placed fourth in 6:07.97 – the third-fastest time in program history and the best since 2019.

“In the 800 free relay, our intention was to go fastest to slowest, but we went the opposite,” Looze said. “Brendan and Van at Big Tens really did a good job, and that was the strength of the relay. Credit to everybody. (Rafael Miroslaw) wasn’t real happy with that, but he still kept us in the game. Tomer kept us in the game too, we were within striking range, and then Brendan, 1:31.7, and Van, 1:31.6, were fantastic splits and allowed us to go from seventh and work ourselves back into that one. And it’s a longer relay, so stuff like that can happen.

“Good start and we have a lot more in front of us. Tomorrow, from a swimming standpoint, is our weakest day by far, so we’re going to have to scrap and hang tough. That will be our plan.”

5. Brendan Burns, Van Mathias, Tomer Frankel, Gavin Wight – 1:21.52 (Program Record, All-America)

4. Rafael Miroslaw, Tomer Frankel, Brendan Burns, Van Mathias – 6:07.97 (All-America)

Brendan Burns (200 Medley Relay, 800 Freestyle Relay)

Tomer Frankel (200 Medley Relay, 800 Freestyle Relay)

Van Mathias (200 Medley Relay, 800 Freestyle Relay)

Rafael Miroslaw (800 Freestyle Relay)

Gavin Wight (200 Medley Relay)

* - Denotes Honorable Mention

The 2023 NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships resume Thursday for day two, the first full day of action. IU athletes will compete in the 200 IM, 50 freestyle, 1-meter dive and 400 medley relay, with preliminaries beginning at 11 a.m. ET. Finals are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET.