COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State started the final day of the 2010 Big Ten Swimming and Diving championships in fifth-place and with coach Bill Dorenkott knowing it would be extremely difficult to hold off Wisconsin and Penn State Saturday for the school’s first Top 5 finish in 13 years.
Well, the team did it! Sparked by an avalanche of strong swims, every swimmer embracing her role and building upon every swim, Ohio State increased its slim margins over both schools heading into Saturday to finish in fifth place with 399.5 points. Wisconsin was sixth with 384.5 points and Penn State was seventh with 333 points.
The Top 5 championships effort by Ohio State represents the highest finish for the team in 13 years, or since the 1997 team finished fifth. The 399 points was the most scored by Ohio State in 16 years. The 1994 team scored 440 points and finished third.
“This was a terrific day,” Ohio State coach Bill Dorenkott said. “We had a really good prelim session this morning followed up by the best session of the entire meet this evening.
“The team raced with a ton of heart today. It was awesome. I am most excited because we became a better team this weekend. The passion and the pride in representing Ohio State and wearing the Scarlet and Gray couldn’t have been more evident. This is just another step for us building this program up to where we want it to be.”
There was a championship decided Saturday at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. Indiana won its second consecutive championship and third in four years by outdistancing the field with 758 points. Minnesota, seeking its second title in three years, was second with 572.5 points with Michigan (462.5) and Purdue (460) third and fourth, respectively.
The drive to be Top 5 intensified through the morning preliminaries Saturday as Ohio State, Wisconsin and Penn State each qualified nine swimmers for a final or consolation final, not counting the 1,650 freestyle. The task for Ohio State would prove to be even tougher as 10-meter platform diver Katie Bell – a favorite in this event – did not compete because of an injury.
The team’s trio of 200 backstroke swimmers – Samantha Cheverton, Haley Mitchell and Emily Creran – put Ohio State on the scoreboard by combining for 26 points with Cheverton taking fourth in a school-record time of 1:55.52 with Mitchell 10th and Creran 13th.
Megan Detro, having a terrific meet with two Ohio State individual records and a part of five relay records, carried the flag for Ohio State in the 100 free, finishing sixth for 13 points in a school-record time of 49.66. At this point Ohio State’s hold on fifth was just one point over Wisconsin – 322.5-321.5.
A 28-point 200 breaststroke extended Ohio State’s hold on fifth. Megan Alexander led the way with a personal-best fifth-place finish in the event in a school-record time of 2:11.79. Senior Colleen Schweitzer won the consolation final for ninth-place and nine points and Katelyn Brix was 12th. Ohio State’s slim lead had grown to seven over Wisconsin with just two swimming events to go, but the score would turn out to be even because the Badgers got seven points on the platform event.
And that’s when freshman Shannon Draves came through with a third-place effort in the 200 butterfly, a finish that ties for the best finish by a Buckeye swimmer in this meet. Coupled with Anita Beck’s 10th-place finish, Ohio State outscored Wisconsin by 23 points and all but clinched fifth-place.
Ohio State’s quartet of Cheverton, Detro, Mitchell and Beck then closed the meet in fine fashion…school record fashion with a sixth-place effort in the 400 freestyle relay in 3:20.53.
Swimming and Diving
Women’s Big Ten Championships
West Lafayette, Ind.
Final Team Scores: 1. Indiana 758; 2. Minnesota 572.5; 3. Michigan 472.5; 4. Purdue 460; 5. Ohio State 399.5; 6. Wisconsin 384.5; 7. Penn State 333; 8. Northwestern 238; 9. Iowa 120; 10. Michigan State 89; 11. Illinois 51.
1650 free – 1. Steenvoorden, Minn16:01.02 (3:35.12); 200 back – 1. Fesenko, Ind. (1:51.32); 4. Cheverton, Ohio State (1:55.52); 100 free – Smailis, Ind. (48.98); 6. Detro, Ohio State (49.66); 200 breaststroke – 1. Spencer, Minn. (2:08.48); 3. Alexander, Ohio State (2:11.79); 200 butterfly – Fesenko, Ind. (1:55.85); 3. Draves, Ohio State (1:58.54); 10-meter platform -1. Agostino (296.00); 400 freestyle relay – 1. Indiana (3:16.95); 6. Cheverton, Detro, Mitchell, Beck, Ohio State (3:20.53).