COLUMBUS, Ohio – A young, emerging and talented Ohio State women’s swimming and diving team won eight races, displayed depth and defeated No. 16 Michigan, 162-132, Saturday at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion to improve to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten Conference.
“I told the team to just go out and race,”coach Bill Dorenkott said following the meet. “And that’s what they did. They raced hard and they raced tough. I’m very proud of the effort of the entire team today.”
He should be. Michigan has beaten Ohio State in 15 consecutive dual meets dating back to Ohio State’s last win 25 years ago, a 100-40 win in 1984-85 under coach Jim Montrella.
Ohio State, ranked 28th in the latest Collegiate Swimming Coaches Association of America poll, opened the meet in fine fashion, with a most-youthful 200 medley relay team of freshman Kelsey Moran, sophomore Catherine Eitel, freshman Shannon Draves and freshman Megan Detro taking first place in a time of 1:42.95. The effort was a springboard of enthusiasm for the team.
“It was exciting from the beginning,” junior Samantha Cheverton and a two-event winner said. “Just watching the relay and seeing the girls step up…to see Megan Detro pulling away, and then you just wanted to do your part.”
“This was truly a team effort,” senior co-captain Megan Alexander said. “You wanted to keep the ball rolling and do your part to help the team.”
After 2008 NCAA champion and superb talent Emily Brunemann won the 1,000 freestyle to push Michigan back into the lead after the second event, Cheverton, one of the most talented of Ohio State’s swimmers, started and ended a run of six Ohio State victories in seven events by winning her specialty – the 200 freestyle – in 1:49.08. With Haley Mitchell taking second, the Buckeyes reclaimed the lead at 31-24.
Michigan went back into the lead, 40-34, after the 100 backstroke, but Eitel regained it for the Buckeyes with a win in the 100 breaststroke in 1:04.29.
Freshman Shannon Draves followed with a win in the 200 butterfly (2:01.74) before Detro won both the 50 and 100 freestyle events on either side of the break to give Ohio State some breathing room at 96-67.
It was at the break that the members of the team started to realize that this may be a big day in the pool, and when Cheverton won her second race of the day, the 200 backstroke in 2:01.22, the enthusiasm peaked and the spirit of the Scarlet and Gray really started to be felt within the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.
Michigan is a team of warriors, though, and it responded to Ohio State’s victory charge by taking first in the final three individual swimming events of the meet. But the Wolverines were barely able to cut into the lead because in each of those wins Buckeyes countered by taking both second and third place.
And it is here where we really get to the essence of this Ohio State win over Michigan. The key to scoring points in this sport is depth, and Ohio State had a plethora of runner-up and third-place finishes that kept the Wolverines from scoring big in any individual event. Consider:
Divers Katie Bell and Bianca Alvarez added to the Buckeyes’ win total with victories on the 10-meter platform event and the three-meter springboard. So by the time of the last event of the meet – the 400 free relay – the Buckeyes held a 25-point lead that they were not going to give up.
The 400 free relay team of Cheverton, Beck, Detro and Mitchell capped a special day at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion with a winning time of 3:24.70.
“This win was really important on a team aspect,” Cheverton said. “This shows what we can do as a team. I am proud for everybody. It’s such a good feeling.”
“I’m so proud to be a Buckeye right now,” Alexander said.
She and the team deserve to feel proud.
Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010
McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion
Team Scores: 1. Ohio State 162; 2. Michigan 132
Ohio State Event Winners: 200 medley relay – Moran, Eitel, Draves, Detro (1:42.95); 200 freestyle – Samantha Cheverton (1:49.08); 100 breaststroke – Catherine Eitel (1:04.29); 200 breaststroke – Shannon Draves (2:01.74); 50 free – Megan Detro (23.43); 100 freestyle – Megan Detro (50.88); 200 backstroke – Samantha Cheverton (2:01.22); 400 free relay – Cheverton, Beck, Detro, Mitchell (3:24.70); 10-meter diving – Katie Bell (339.00); 3-meter diving – Alvarez (376.13).