COLUMBUS, Ohio – About an hour before the 11th-ranked Ohio State men’s swimming team would conclude its dual meet season by hosting defending Mid American Conference champion Eastern Michigan, head coach Bill Wadley assembled his team and told them: “This night is about honoring our 10 seniors who have given an awful lot of their lives to this team, showing them respect and letting them know how much we appreciate what they’ve done for this program.”

And that’s just what the team did. In honor of 10 highly intelligent, forward-thinking and forever and always 2010 Big Ten champions, the Buckeyes went out and cruised to a 167-89 win over the Eagles in the final dual meet of the season and, for some, the final meaningful racing event of their careers. The win capped a 10-1 dual meet season for the Buckeyes and improved the seniors’ four-year dual meet record to an impressive 39-5.

The dual meet record won’t be the legacy left by this group of fine young men that includes Justin Farra, Michael Hulme, Bobby Jenrow, Elliott Keefer, Jayson King, Quincy Lee, Sean Moore, Tom O’Neill, Ben Savonen and Phil Seleskie. No, their legacy will always start with the 2010 Big Ten championship, the first for Ohio State in 54 years, and it will include the fact that Ohio State became a dominant swimming and diving program once again during their careers as NCAA finishes of 16th, 12th and ninth the last three years will attest.

“We were a much different program when these guys came in,” Wadley reminded the rest of the team. “They trusted we were going somewhere special…and they are living proof that we have [gone somewhere special].  And they have started us on the next step: dominance!”

There may not be a tomorrow on the pool deck for the Ohio State seniors, but their run is certainly not done. In fact, it’s only just beginning. Consider:

  • Farra, who won the 100 breaststroke Friday and teamed with Kevin Lancki, Tim Phillips and Zach Holmes to win the 200 medley relay, has already been accepted into law school at Ohio State where he wants to specialize in mergers and acquisitions. He graduates this spring with a double major in economics and political science.
  • Hulme, victorious in the 400 individual medley in his final home meet, is considering a career in coaching although double majors, like Farra, in economics and political science, will position him nicely with a variety of career options. He also graduates this spring.
  • Jenrow, another senior winner Friday, in the 200 butterfly, will be at Ohio State for one more year completing requirements for his biology degree.
  • Keefer, who always wins races and did so again Friday in the 200 breaststroke, plans to continue racing. He will compete at the World University Games in Shenzhen, China, in August and then continue training for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. Keefer will have his history and international studies degree this spring and someday hopes to work with the U.S. government.
  • King will graduate this December with his degree in consumer and family financial services. Before that, though, he intends on completing an internship this summer and getting prepared for more schooling: he’s planning on getting his MBA.
  • Lee wants to design skyscrapers for a living. He has one more year of schooling before he’ll receive his degree in civil engineering and then he will attend graduate school.
  • Moore, an NCAA champion on the 10-meter platform as a freshman, is closing in on a business administration degree while also studying pre-medicine through a life sciences minor. He will be in medical school before long, hopefully, he says, back home in Colorado at the University of Colorado.
  • O’Neill, who graduates in December with a degree in finance, has a major national meet upcoming this summer: the U.S. Open Water Nationals off the coast of Fort Myers, Fla., and he, too, will be training for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.
  • Savonen, a team tri-captain, will graduate this spring with his degree in mechanical engineering. Then it’s off to graduate school to study environmental engineering with a goal of attending Michigan Tech to study in its Peace Corps engineering program.
  • Seleskie is a hospitality management major who will have his degree in December. Then, he says, he’s moving to Las Vegas, the center of hospitality management and where Hyatt Hotels has a hospitality management program. He is also considering graduate school at UNLV.

Wow! The only thing more impressive than the accomplishments and future goals of Ohio State’s 10 seniors is knowing this team is full of underclassmen who have the same drive to succeed in the classroom and considerable skills in the pool; people like these who helped the Buckeyes sweep all 14 swimming events vs. Eastern Michigan:

  • Freshman Ty Perkins, who won the 1,000 freestyle;
  • Sophomore Zach Birnbrich, who took both the 50 and 100 freestyles;
  • Junior Lincoln Fahrbach, the 200 freestyle winner;
  • Junior Big Ten champion Andrew Elliott, who cruised to his 11th backstroke win of the season, this time in the 100 back;
  • Junior Markus Sievers, victorious in the 200 backstroke;
  • Freshman Brett Boston, who won his second collegiate race, the 500 freestyle;
  • And super talented Tim Phillips, who won the 100 butterfly.

Fahrbach, Jason Schnur, Birnbrich and Phillips then closed the meet and the dual meet careers of the seniors with a win in the 200 freestyle relay.

“This was a very special night in the lives of some special young men,” Wadley said.

It was special for those in attendance, too, knowing what these nine swimmers and one diver did for the program and for each other and for this school one year ago by being a part of that goose- bumps-on-top-of-goose-bumps experience at the Big Ten championships.

Thank you, seniors.  

Men’s Swimming & Diving

Friday, Feb. 4, 2011

Columbus, Ohio

McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion 

Team Scores: Ohio State 167, Eastern Michigan 89

Ohio State Event Winners: 200 medley relay – Lancki, Farra, Phillips, Holmes, 1:30.43; 1000 freestyle – Perkins, 9:22.01; 200 freestyle – Fahrbach, 1:39.70; 100 backstroke – Elliott, 48.69; 100 breaststroke – Farra, 55.71; 200 butterfly – Jenrow, 1.49.98; 50 freestyle – Birnbrich, 21.04; 100 freestyle – Birnbrich, 46.09; 200 backstroke – Sievers, 1:48.04; 200 breaststroke – Keefer, 1:59.84; 500 freestyle – Boston, 4:32.82; 100 butterfly – Phillips, 48.37; 400 IM – Hulme, 4:00.84; 200 freestyle relay – Fahrbach, Schnur, Birnbrich, Phillips, 1:23.78