COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State women’s swimming and diving, trying for an historic first-ever back-to-back wins over perennial Big Ten Conference power Michigan, fell behind early and could not catch up in dropping a 160-135 decision to the Wolverines Friday at Canham Natatorium on the campus of the University of Michigan.
The loss was the first of the season in dual meets for No. 18 Ohio State, which falls to 6-1 on the season. Michigan, ranked No. 15 in the latest TYR/NSCAA poll, evened its record at 5-5 with the victory.
The Buckeyes, in just their second season under the direction of Bill Dorenkott and assistant Stefanie Williams, defeated Michigan last year in Columbus, 162-132, for their first win in the 22-meet series in 25 years. The win no doubt helped propel the Buckeyes to their best Big Ten finish in 13 years one month later – fifth-place at the conference championship meet and just 64 points out of third-place.
A similar dual meet result wasn’t going to happen this year, though. As Dorenkott reminded his team this week, beating Michigan last year was like kicking a hornet’s nest, and the Wolverines swam like they were still buzzing from the pain of last year’s result.
After Michigan opened with a win in the 200 medley relay to take a quick 13-4 lead, Ohio State senior co-captains Samantha Cheverton and Anita Beck recorded back-to-back wins in the 1000 freestyle and the 200 free to ease the Buckeyes ahead by a point, 28-27. Cheverton swam a season’s best time in the 1000 of 9:59.89 while Beck’s win came in 1:51.15.
Michigan, which leads all schools with 14 Big Ten crowns with Ohio State’s five championships second all-time, took first- and second-place in the next three races (while winning the next four) to build a formidable 39-point cushion heading into the first diving break, 85-46.
Junior Bianca Alvarez stopped the Wolverine run by winning on the 3-meter springboard – her fifth consecutive diving win this season – with 386.42 points with Kristen Asman taking fourth. The 11-point event cut only three points of the UM lead, though.
When swimming resumed, the Buckeyes fought hard to get back into the meet. Detro captured the 100 freestyle in 50.29 with freshman Michelle Williams third (51.93) and Beck taking fourth. The 14 points earned made the score Michigan 98, Ohio State 71.
Michigan didn’t panic, though, and followed with a one-two-three sweep in the 200 backstroke and a win in the 200 breaststroke to reclaim the momentum and a 49-point lead.
Beck and Cheverton tried their best to rally Ohio State. They finished second and third, respectively, in the 500 freestyle with freshman Kelly Ann Baird fourth.
The Wolverines rebounded once again and clinched the dual meet win in the next race, with another one-two finish in the 100 butterfly.
Alvarez won again, this time on the 1-meter springboard with 327.30 points, but that would be the final highlight of the night for the Scarlet and Gray. Severn was second in the 200 IM (2:04.98) and the 400 free relay team of Beck, Cheverton, Detro and Williams also was second in the meet’s final event.
The Buckeyes return home to host Michigan State at 1 p.m. Saturday at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion. The meet will be a co-ed dual with each program’s men’s teams in action as well. Five Ohio State seniors – Anita Beck, Katie Bell, Sam Cheverton, Shelby Gordon and Morgan Menzie – will be honored prior to the start of the meet. Admission, as always, is free.
Friday, Jan. 21, 2011
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Team Scores: Michigan 160, Ohio State 135
Ohio State Event Winners: 1000 freestyle – Cheverton, 9:59.89; 200 freestyle – Beck, 1:51.15; 3-meter diving – Alvarez, 386.62; 100 freestyle – Detro (50.29); 1-meter diving – Alvarez, 327.30.