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Jan. 13, 2016

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State Synchronized Swimming team is set to open the 2016 campaign this Saturday when it hosts the OSU Invitational at the Bill and Mae McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.

The competition will open with the solo, duet and trio routines beginning at 2 p.m. followed immediately by the technical competition. Ohio State will be competing against athletes from Miami (OH) and Michigan.

The Buckeyes are coming off a 2015 season that saw them finish first in all but one event and capture the US Collegiate National Championship, the program’s 29th national title. Ohio State should once again be in the mix in 2016 as it returns its top soloist in junior Emma Baranski, its top duet in junior Lorraine Hack and sophomore Alyssa Hoying as well as its top trio from last year in Hack, Hoying and sophomore Monica Velazquez-Stiak. The Scarlet team, which claimed the gold medal at the US Collegiate Championships last season, also returns six of its eight members.

This weekend, Baranski will swim her solo routine and will then join Velazquez-Stiak for a duet. Hack and Hoying will also compete in the duet along with sophomore Jessica Giannuzzi and freshman Elizabeth Walsh as well as sophomore Noelle St. John and freshman Stephanie Thielemann.

The Buckeyes will also have four trios competing on Saturday. Velazquez-Stiak will join with Baranksi and junior Elizabeth Davidson this year while Hack and Hoying will swim with junior All-American Morgan Boneberg. Senior Amrian Johnson, junior Sarah House and sophomore Lizzie Welzien will form a third trio and freshmen Renee Collett, Alex Meredith-LeRoux and Rachel Warren will form a fourth trio.

Ohio State is under the direction of fourth-year head coach Holly Vargo-Brown. She has been a part of the program for nearly 30 years as a student-athlete, assistant coach, interim head coach and now head coach. Vargo-Brown has had a hand in 22 of the Buckeye’s 29 national titles. Her assistant coach is Suzanna Fernandez who is also in her fourth season. Fernandez, like Vargo-Brown, is a former Buckeye swimmer. She was a three-time All-American and was named the 2003 U.S. Synchronized Swimming Collegiate Athlete of the Year.