COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State men’s swimming and diving team opens the 2007-08 season at 6 p.m. Friday with a dual meet against 2006-07 NCAA Division III champion Kenyon College at McCorkle Aquatics Pavilion.
Head coach Bill Wadley begins his 19th season at Ohio State with an experienced core of returning upperclassmen and a strong recruiting class. Diving coach Vince Panzano’s corps of divers includes two returning Big Ten champions.
The Kenyon College Lords swimming and diving program is one of the most successful programs in the history of the NCAA. They are coming off of their 28th-consecutive Division III national championship, a feat that no other team in any division or sport has come close to accomplishing. Kenyon head coach Jim Steen enters his 32nd year at Kenyon and has won 45 NCAA national championships, more than any other coach in any NCAA sport.
COACH BILL WADLEY
The Ohio State men’s swimming and diving team has been one of the most successful Buckeye athletics programs during the past 60 years, including the past 18 under the guidance of head coach Bill Wadley. Wadley has coached 13 Olympians and his teams have been ranked in the NCAA Top 25 for 14 of the past 17 seasons. Buckeye swimmers and divers have qualified for the NCAA Championships in 16 of Wadley’s 17 years as coach. Wadley coached the Buckeyes to a third place finish at the 2007 Big Ten Championships and sent nine swimmers and three divers to the NCAA Championships where the team finished 12th, its highest finish since 1983. In all, 11 athletes received honorable mention All-American honors at the meet. The 2007 season included a 6-3 dual meet record and a 2nd-place finish at the second annual Ohio State Invitational at the Bill and Mae McCorkle Aquatics Pavilion.Wadley has compiled a dual-meet record of 158-30 (.843) at Ohio State and has a career record of 182-40 (.820) in 20 seasons as a college head coach. He has produced more than 35 world-ranked swimmers and 13 of his student-athletes have reached the Olympics.
COACH VINCE PANZANO
Vince Panzano is coach of the Ohio State men’s and women’s diving teams. Panzano, who was named the 2007 Big Ten Diving Coach of the Year for the eighth time in his career, has produced one world champion, one junior world champion, two Olympic medalists, 22 U.S. Diving champions, ten NCAA champions, 14 NCAA runners-up, 48 Big Ten champions and 69 NCAA All-Americans. Last year three different Ohio State divers won Big Ten diving championships, something no other school has ever accomplished.
Following Friday’s meet against Kenyon College, Ohio State will host the University of Washington in a double dual meet with the Ohio State women’s team Nov. 9. Start time for the men’s meet is 6 p.m. The Buckeyes will then travel to swim Miami (OH) on Nov. 16 and come back home to take on Cleveland State Nov. 20.
THIRD OHIO STATE INVITATIONAL
Ohio State will host the third annual Ohio State Swimming and Diving Invitational, Nov. 30-Dec. 2. Men’s and women’s teams from Notre Dame, South Carolina, Denver, Iowa, Michigan State and Minnesota are scheduled to compete.
Post-season action will begin with the 2008 Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Mich., Feb. 28-March 1. Those swimmeres and divers that qualify will then travel to Federal Way, Wash., to compete in the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, March 27-29.
2008 OLYMPIC TRIALS
This is an Olympic Trials year so there is much anticipation by Ohio State swimmers and divers. The U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials will be held June 30-July 7 in Omaha, Neb., while the U.S. Olympic Diving Trials are set for June 18-22 in Indianapolis, Ind.
This season, Ohio State will look to fill the hole left by 2007 Honorable Mention All-America Joe Doyle and Wadley sees senior Matt Voelker as the one to lead the sprint freestyle events. Voelker represented the Buckeyes at the 2007 NCAA Championships in the 50-yard freestyle. Joel Elber and Felipe Travesso will be looked upon to add depth to the event. Voelker will also be the team leader in the 100 and 200 events. Assisting him will be Elber and Travesso, along with newcomers Paul Miller, Andrew Misich and Ben Savonen. The 500 freestyle events will rest on the shoulders of George Markovic, Jacob Busch, Mark Neiman and Stefan Sigrist. Wadley believes this group of four is quite possibly the deepest and fastest group to ever wear scarlet and gray. Neiman ad Markovic, along with freshmen Tom O’Neill and Bobby Jenrow will swim the 1,000 and 1,650 events for the Buckeyes.
Wadley is confident in a group of talented freshmen to establish excellence in the backstroke events for the Buckeyes this season. Itai Chammah comes to Ohio State already a member of the 2008 Israeli Olympic team, competing in both the 100- ad 200-meter backstrokes. Other newcomers joining Chammah are Justin Farra, Phil Seleskie and Michael Hulme. Adding depth will be veterans Daniel Novak and Tyler King.
Wadley is optimistic about this year’s breaststroke events and is enthusiastic about the future progress his group will make. The Buckeyes return a strong and competitive group in junior Felipe Travesso and sophomores Sam Pelkey and Daniel Malnik. Travesso finished in the top 25 at the 2007 NCAA Championships in the 100-yard breaststroke. Malnik will be a competitor in both the 100 and 200 events. Pelkey will be looked at as the leader in the 200 after taking fourth at the 2007 Big Ten Championships as a freshman. Incoming freshman Elliott Keefer will be an added asset to the squad. Keefer qualified for the Senior Nationals in the 100 breaststroke.
Ohio State will look upon a pair of upperclassmen to lead a young group of swimmers in the butterfly events. Senior Daniel Novak was among the team leaders in both the 100- and 200-yard events last season, while junior Matthias Sigrist swam a team-best in the 200. Wadley is also looking to the leadership of sophomore transfer Andrew Bretscher in the butterfly this season. Bretscher, who came to Ohio State from Auburn, will be a valuable addition to the team. Also swimming the 100 butterfly for the Buckeyes will be developing talents Quincy Lee and Andrew Misich.
Although the Buckeyes graduated their fastest swimmer all-time in Nate King, Wadley will look to sophomore Andrew Olson and incoming freshman Michael Hulme to fill the gap in the individual medley. Olson set a personal best time at the Big Ten Championships in the 200-yard and has qualified for the U.S. Nationals in the same event. Hulme is a high school standout and an Olympic Trials qualifier in he 400. Senior Daniel Novak will assist Olson in the 200. Also swimming the events will be transfer Andrew Bretscher and freshman Justin Farra.
ON THE BOARDS
Panzano is exited about this year’s Divers. “It will be a great team with a lot of talent,” Panzano said. “They have great ability and really work hard. This season is going to be a positive experience with a good group of kids and I’m looking forward to it.”
Leading the Scarlet and Gray will be junior Wes Wieser and sophomore Burkley Showe. Both will be strong contenders in all three diving events for the Buckeyes. Wieser is the reigning Big Ten Champion on the 10-meter platform and an All-Big Ten first-team performer. He earned a ninth-place finish in the same event at the NCAA Championship. Showe was named Co-Big Te Freshman of the Year ad Co-Big Ten Diver of the Championship last season after winning the 1-meter competition at the conference meet. Adding depth to the Buckeye squad is returning sophomore Ryan Jefferson and newcomer Sean Moore. Jefferson is 2007 Big Ten runner-up to teammate Showe on the 1-meter and was named to the all-conference second-team for his performance. Moore, the son of former Buckeye standout and 1972 Olympian Tim Moore, is one of the nation’s top recruits coming out of high school this year and will contribute greatly to Ohio State’s success this season.