WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Eight members of Purdue men's swimming and diving will represent the Boilermakers this week at the marquee event of the season, the three-day NCAA Championships in Indianapolis.
Competition is set for Thursday through Saturday at the IU Natatorium on the campus of IUPUI. Indianapolis is serving as the host city of the Men's NCAA Championships for the ninth time since 1986, but for the first time since 1999. Morning preliminaries begin daily at 11 a.m. and evening finals are set for 7 p.m. ESPN3 and WatchESPN will offer free live video webcast coverage of the finals sessions on Friday and Saturday nights. The Indiana Sports Corporation will provide free live online video of the other four sessions.
Purdue will be represented in the individual events by swimmers Lyam Dias (100 and 200 breast, 200 IM) and Danny Tucker (50 and 100 free) and divers Jamie Bissett and Layne Rogers. In the freestyle relay events, Chuck Destro, Matt Friede and Benjamin Ziolkowski will team with Tucker. Stephen Seliskar will swim the leadoff backstroke leg on the medley relays, teaming with Dias (breast), Destro (fly) and Tucker (free). The Boilermakers are expected to compete in 12 events over the course of the three-day, six-session meet.
Last week, the Purdue women were also represented by eight members of the program at the national championship meet, which was held in Indianapolis as well. This marks the fourth time since 1989 that both the Men's and Women's NCAA Championships are being held in the same city. Indianapolis was also the dual host in 1989.
After traveling all the way to the Seattle area for last year's national championship meet, it's only an hour trip southeast to the Circle City for the Purdue men this season. With Indiana University hosting the Big Ten meet and the Zone C Diving Championships being held at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center, the amount of travel required for the championship portion of the season has been at an all-time low. A number of the Boilers' teammates are also planning on making the short trip from West Lafayette to Indianapolis to provide support from the stands.
Friede, Tucker and Ziolkowski were part of Purdue's NCAAs-qualifying relays a year ago and will be making their second appearances at the national championship meet. The other five Boilers will be there for the first time. Bissett and Dias have competed at some notable national meets in their native Canada. Dias also represented Team Canada at the 2011 Pan American Games in Mexico. Destro, Friede, Tucker and Ziolkowski competed at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials last summer in Omaha.
The top 16 finishers in the afternoon preliminaries advance to the finals, assuring themselves of All-America honors as well as scoring team points for their schools. The top eight qualify for the championship finals. The ninth through 16th place finishers in prelims compete in the consolation finals later in the day, those spots being Honorable Mention All-America.
The Boilermakers will compete in the 200 free relay and the 400 medley relay Thursday, which will be the team's busiest day with six events on the schedule. The 200 medley relay is set for Friday and the 400 free relay Saturday. Dias will race individually in a different event each day. For Tucker, the 50 free is Thursday and the 100 free Saturday.
Tucker's time of 19.35 in the 50 free from the Big Ten Championships ranked seventh nationally. His school-record time of 42.84 in the 100 free was good for 16th in the country. Dias qualified with his time of 1:55.31 in the 200 breaststroke, which ranked 18th. He also earned spots in the 100 breast (54.54, 42nd) and 200 IM (1:45.31, 33rd) after posting provisional-qualifying times this season.
Nationally, Purdue's top times in the 200 (1:18.05) and 400 free (2:54.37) relays ranked 13th and 20th, respectively. The Boilers' best showings in the 200 (1:27.16) and 400 medley (3:11.12) relays ranked 29th and 25th, respectively.
Friede, Tucker and Ziolkowski earned Honorable Mention All-America recognition when the 200 free relay team qualified for the consolation final at NCAAs a year ago. They also completed in the 400 free relay and raced individually in the 50 free.