Feb. 18, 2016
Columbus, Ohio— Ohio State claimed two Big Ten titles during day two of the conference championships: the 200 freestyle relay and the 50 freestyle.
In the first finals event of the second day, the foursome of Liz Li, Annie Jongekrijg, Rachael Dzierzak, and Macie McNichols combined for a time of 1:28.29, which was notable on several levels. First and foremost, they became the first Buckeye relay team since 1991 to place first at Big Tens. In the process, they also clinched a spot at the NCAA Championships, swimming nearly one full second faster than the NCAA A cutline. Finally, the performance set a new Ohio State record as well as a new pool record. This same group of four held the previous school record as well, set during the postseason last year.
The other Big Ten Championship performance came from Li in the 50 freestyle. Earlier in the day, the sophomore swam a time of 21.73 during prelims to set a new Ohio State record and solidify herself as the favorite going into tonight’ finals. Li then swam a 21.80 to take home the 50 free crown, becoming the first Buckeye to win a Big Ten title in an individual event since 2014 and the first to win the 50 free since 1982. Perhaps even more impressive was that Li’s split in the 200 freestyle relay was 21.63.
Joining Li towards the top of the standings were her teammates Macie McNichols (22.51, 4th place) and Jongekrijg (22.60, 6th place). Ohio State was the only school with three swimmers in the top 10 of the final 50 free standings.
Outside of those two events, the other biggest performance came in the 500 freestyle. Lindsey Clary, coming off a new school record that she set during prelims, set another new OSU mark during the Finals with her time of 4:39.09.
Several other Buckeyes managed to score points for Ohio State during a big day two. Kaitlyn Ferrara (4:47.32) finished in 18th in the 500 freestyle, one spot ahead of teammate Katy Luchansky (4:47.55). Meg Bailey was the lone Buckeye to record points in the finals of the 200 IM, placing 9th with her time of 1:58.69. Aside from the three names previously mentioned, there were two other swimmers to earn points in the finals of the 50 free and, funnily enough, both tied a swimmer from another school. Dzierzak finished in a tie for 15th with a time of 22.95 and Emily Albrecht finished in a tie for 21st with a mark of 23.10.
Making her Big Ten Championships debut, Hannah Thek finished 18th and second in the C finals with a score of 276.00 on the one-meter dive.
It was a big day for Ohio State, which finished the day in third place in the overall standings by a comfortable margin. Tomorrow’s schedule will follow the same timeframe as the one today, with prelims beginning at 11 a.m. and finals starting up at 6:30 p.m. A full event schedule for this week can be found here.
1st Michigan, 423.5
2nd Indiana, 406.5
3rd, Ohio State, 328
4th, Minnesota, 298.5
5th, Wisconsin, 272.5