Feb. 26, 2016
Columbus, Ohio—As the week rolls on here at the Big Ten Championships, Ohio State just keeps upping the ante in terms of performance. After qualifying for NCAA’s in a relay on day one, then winning a B1G title and qualifying in another relay on day two, the Buckeyes claimed two Big Ten titles on day three of their conference championships.
Matt McHugh was the star of the day for OSU. He won two Big Ten Championships- the 100 butterfly (45.46) and the 100 backstroke (45.07). The 100 fly championship is the second in a row for the junior, who was crowned last year’s champ as well. He becomes the first Big Ten swimmer to repeat in the 100 fly since the 2009-10 seasons, and he’s the first Ohio State swimmer to win the same event in consecutive years since 2011-12 when Andrew Elliott won the 200 backstroke in back-to-back years. His time is also the fourth-fastest in the country as of this writing.
As impressive as all that is, McHugh almost outdid himself with his 100 back performance. He outpaced the field by nearly a full second and beat his own school record by a similar margin. On top of all that, he set a Big Ten Championship record with his time of 45.07, which ranks third in the nation right now. He’s the first Buckeye to take the 100 back crown since the aforementioned Elliott did so in 2010.
After winning a conference championship yesterday, Colin Zeng very nearly had number two today, but lost out by the slimmest of margins in the three-meter dive. His score of 427.40 was just narrowly behind the first place finisher’s 427.55. So far, Zeng is the only diver to finish in the top three in both diving finals. Stephen Romanik also finished as a point-earner for Ohio State, placing 14th and posting a score of 346.90 over the course of the day.
Though McHugh and Zeng have both been big point-getters for Ohio State this week, it’s been the team’s depth that’s really helped it climb the team standings. In each individual swimming event today, the Buckeyes had at least three swimmers earn points and 19 total. 15 of those swam in either A or B finals, helping OSU get points in sizable chunks with each passing heat.
Prior to the individual events getting underway, the teams all swam the 200 freestyle relay, in which Ohio State earned a third place finish. McHugh, Mossimo Chavez, Kevin Musterait, and Andrew Appleby swam to a third place finish with a time of 1:17.87.
Kicking off the day on the individual end was the 400 IM, in which Ohio State had five swimmers earn final spots, the most of any event for the Scarlet and Gray today. The fastest of the bunch for the Buckeyes was Gus Whiteman, who swam a 3:47.98 in the A finals for a seventh place finish. The B and C finals featured two Buckeyes apiece. Dmitry Dolgov took 10th place with a mark of 3:48.01 while fellow senior Chris DePietro’s best time of the day was 3:49.45; in the C finals, Jovan Mitrovic led his heat with a time of 3:50.13 and Matt Moen’s time of 3:51.22 on Friday was a career-best.
McHugh’s win in the 100 fly came next, but two other Ohio State swimmers had strong performances as well. Ching Lim placed first in the B finals with a time of 47.10, which tied for sixth-fastest overall. Teammates Michael Salazar and Mark Belanger also earned points in the 400 IM, with their best times of the day clocking in at 47.98 and 48.39, respectively.
In the 200 freestyle, Steffen Hillmer was able to secure a spot in the A finals with his time of 1:35.39 and ended up finishing in seventh place in the evening session. Two other Buckeyes- Brayden Seal and Joey Long- competed in the B finals and ended up finishing in 11th and 15th, respectively. The pair of swimmers also posted very solid times of 1:35.92 and 1:36.37 during competition on Friday.
The 100 breaststroke saw the same distribution of Ohio State swimmers- two in the B finals, one in the A finals- as the event that preceded it. DJ MacDonald was OSU’s A finals competitor and swam to a fourth place finish with a stellar time of 52.96, tied for second-fastest in school history and only trailing himself. Dustin Tynes (52.93) and Jack Barone (53.54) earned 10th and 11th place points, respectively, and setting a new personal best times in the process by significant margins.
The final individual swimming event of the day followed and was highlighted by McHugh’s electric performance. Teammate Andrew Appleby earned a spot in the A finals thanks to his time of 47.03 during prelims and in the evening session he finished in 7th place. Two other Buckeyes were able to finish in the top-15 for this event: Thomas Trace finished 9th after posting a time of 47.19 (the seventh-fastest time overall) and Belanger helped Ohio State in the standings yet again with his time of 47.47, putting him in 15th place.
Thanks to the Buckeyes’ effort today they leapfrogged Indiana into second place prior to the final day of the Championships. Tomorrow’s action will get underway at 11 a.m. for prelims and 6:30 p.m. for finals. Once again, you can check out our Big Ten Championships preview for more detailed information regarding the live stream, live results, etc.
1. Michigan 1005
2. Ohio State 855.5
3. Indiana 845
4. Minnesota 611
5. Wisconsin 518