COLUMBUS, Ohio – There will be some seriously intense racing and positioning this weekend at Canham Natatorium on the campus of the University of Michigan when Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Northwestern meet in a quadrangular meet less than a month out of the Big Ten Conference championships.

“This is the start of a big weekend of swimming around the Big Ten,” Ohio State coach and 2010 Big Ten Coach of the Year Bill Wadley said. “All the Big Ten schools will be swimming their best competition this year this week. Wisconsin and Purdue and Minnesota are going head-to-head and Iowa is at Notre Dame’s Shamrock Invite. There will be lots of great swimming all over the league.”

Action in Ann Arbor kicks off Friday at 5 p.m. and will conclude Saturday at 11 a.m. The Wolverine seniors will be honored prior to the start of the Saturday session.

Ohio State comes in with the highest team ranking at No. 11 in the latest TYR/College Swimming Coaches Association of America poll. Michigan is 13th and both Northwestern and Penn State are receiving votes.

Records-wise, Ohio State is 7-0 and 1-0 in the Big Ten. Michigan is 4-2-1 and 1-1 in the Big Ten. Northwestern is 7-4 and 1-3, respectively, and Penn State is 3-4 and 0-1.

Versus X 3  The meet will be scored as three dual meets for each team (Ohio State vs. Michigan; Ohio State vs. Northwestern; Ohio State vs. Penn State, etc.).

A Perfect Tidbit  If the Buckeyes are able to come through the weekend unbeaten – albeit, it will be no easy task – they will be in line for their first unbeaten dual meet season in 21 years. Wadley’s second Ohio State team posted a 10-0 dual meet record, including a 135-108 win over Michigan, the team’s last dual meet win in the series. Ohio State closes out its dual meet season and will honor its seniors Feb. 4 against Eastern Michigan at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.

Spots at Stake  Won/loss records take a back seat, however, to the more relevant ramification of securing a spot on Ohio State’s Big Ten championship meet roster, which numerous Buckeyes will be seeking with excellent swims this weekend.

“At the end of this weekend our Big Ten roster will become a little clearer,” Wadley said. “I don’t know if it will be etched in stone, but we will be getting closer to a lot of answers to our questions of who is going to be our third this or our fourth that.”

Tough Decisions  The decisions of who makes the Big Ten roster (and who doesn’t) makes this time of the season the hardest part of being a coach, according to Wadley. He explained that a coach is basically telling a young person who has worked so hard and done so many good things that they can’t represent their team at the conference championships, when that’s all they want to do.

Wadley has a solution.

“Don’t leave it in my hands,” he says. “There is no discussion of who makes the team with the obvious choices. But where it is not clear, go out and earn that spot this week. Then I feel more comfortable.”

It rarely works out that way and Wadley, who has coached Ohio State for 22 years, always has work to do in the form of tough decisions.

“Too bad,” Wadley said regarding the tough work he invariably still has ahead of him. “Everything doesn’t always work out perfectly.”   

Live Meet Scoring  Michigan’s web site – – will be running Live Stats the two days of the meet. A direct link to the Live Stats is above.

Order of Events  This weekend’s order of events will be:

Friday – 5 p.m.

  • 400 medley relay
  • 1000 free
  • 200 free
  • 50 free
  • 1-meter diving
  • 100 back
  • 200 breast
  • 200 fly
  • 400 free relay

Saturday – 11 a.m.

  • 200 medley relay
  • 500 free
  • 200 IM
  • 100 fly
  • 3-meter diving
  • 200 back
  • 100 free
  • 100 breast
  • 200 free relay

Too Hard Not to Look  Even though it may not be an accurate reflection of what’s going on in the Big Ten Conference because one just doesn’t know how the other teams have prepared for their meets so far, it is too hard not to look at the Top 5 times in the Big Ten right now in real time and compare…dream…wonder…hope. So here it is, as things stand right now in the Big Ten:

  • Ohio State leads all schools with 18 appearances among the Top 5 times in the 14 individual events with Indiana next with 14 and followed by Michigan (10) and Minnesota (7).
  • Ohio State also leads with five fastest times to date – Brent Hitchcock in the 1000 free, Andrew Elliott in the 100 backstroke, Elliott Keefer in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes, respectively, and Justin Farra in the 200 individual medley.
  • Michigan boasts a pair of top times – Kyle Whitaker in the 400 individual medley and Ryan Feeley in the 1650 free – with Minnesota, Indiana and Wisconsin also owning a pair of top times.
  • Buckeyes appear among the Top 2 times in a conference-high nine instances with Indiana’s seven instances second and Michigan third with three.

Ohio State Top Times So Far…

50 free – Lincoln Fahrbach, 20.21 B

100 free – Lincoln Fahrbach, 44.71

200 free – Stephen Sakaris, 1:37.27 B

500 free – Brent Hitchcock, 4:23.62, B

1000 free – Brent Hitchcock, 9:16.74

1,650 free – Ty Perkins, 15:17.77 B

100 back – Andrew Elliott, 46.15 A

200 back – Andrew Elliott, 1:42.62 B

100 breast – Elliott Keefer, 54.12 B

200 breast – Elliott Keefer, 1:55.55 B

100 fly – Tim Phillips, 47.07 B

200 fly – Quincy Lee 1:45.57 B

200 IM – Justin Farra, 1:45.96 B  

400 IM – Justin Farra, 3:50.16 B

200 free relay – Fahrbach, Schnur, Holmes, Phillips, 1:20.15 B

400 free relay – Fahrbach, Holmes, Schnur, Phillips, 2:56.23 B

800 free relay – Holmes, Fahrbach, Sakaris, Phillips, 6:27.81 B

200 medley relay – Elliott, Keefer, Lee, Schnur, 1:27.35 B

400 medley relay – Elliott, Keefer, Lee, Phillips, 3:10.07 B

A indicates NCAA qualifying standard; B indicates NCAA provisional qualifying standard

More Provisional Cuts  In addition to the NCAA qualifying/provisional qualifying times noted above, Ohio State boasts an additional 15 NCAA provisional times. Individuals with those standards:

So. Jason Schnur – 50 free

So. Luke Stirton – 500 free; 200 fly

Fr. Kevin Lancki – 100 back

Jr. Markus Sievers – 200 back; 200 IM

Sr. Phil Seleskie – 200 back; 400 IM

Sr. Justin Farra – 100 breaststroke; 200 breaststroke

Sr. Quincy Lee – 100 fly

Jr. Lincoln Fahrbach – 100 fly

Sr. Bobby Jenrow – 200 fly

Jr. Austin Mudd – 400 IM

Sr. Michael Hulme – 40 IM

Ohio State…To Date  Coach Bill Wadley’s men’s team is 7-0 in dual meets this season and and also has a huge and impressive win over a 12-team field at the AT&T U.S. Short Course National Championships.  The team has dual meet wins over Kenyon, Cleveland State, Denison, Miami, Tennessee, Wright State and Michigan State. The Buckeyes also have a runner-up finish at the seven-team Purdue Invitational.

Captains  Senior Ben Savonen and two juniors – Andrew Elliott and Lincoln Fahrbach – were named captains of the defending Big Ten champion Buckeyes. Selected by a team vote, the three chosen exemplify the dedication, perseverance and overall spirit of the collective group.

International Tim  Tim Phillips competed for Team USA at the 2010 FINA Short Course World Swimming Championships in Dubai in December. Phillips was part of a U.S. team of 19 men’s swimmers.

Farra Honored Again by Big Ten  Justin Farra earned his second Big Ten Swimmer of the Week award this season this week after first place finishes in three events as the Buckeyes defeated Michigan State, 165-123 last weekend. In the 100-yard breaststroke, the senior touched the wall first and earned an NCAA-provisional time of 55.50. Farra’s success continued when he took the top spot in the 200 backstroke (1:47.91) and 200 individual medley (1:51.21).

Swimmers of the Week  Three Buckeyes have been named Big Ten Conference Swimmer of the Week four times this season: Zach Holmes, Tim Phillips and Justin Farra (twice).

Big Ten Coach of the Year Bill Wadley  Bill Wadley, the 2010 Big Ten Coach of the Year, is in his 22nd year at Ohio State and he has an Ohio State dual meet record of 193-34. He has coached 15 Olympians and his teams have been ranked in the NCAA Top 25 for 18 of the past 21 seasons. Buckeye swimmers and divers have qualified for the NCAA championships in 19 of Wadley’s 21 years as coach. Wadley has also produced more than 35 world ranked swimmers.

Diving Coach Vince Panzano  Vince Panzano is in his 33rd year as coach at his alma mater. He has produced one world champion, one junior world champion, two Olympic medalists, 23 U.S. diving champions, 12 NCAA champions, 16 NCAA runners-up, 54 Big Ten champions and 86 All-Americans. Panzano also has coached Ohio State and McDonald’s Diving to six national team titles. He has had divers on five of the last six Olympic Teams.