COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State and Indiana, storied swimming and diving schools with a combined 37 Big Ten titles and 17 NCAA crowns, met in an old fashioned dual meet Saturday at the state-of-the-art McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion. The No. 12 Buckeyes won every event and prevailed over the No. 20 Hoosiers, 224-74, to improve to 6-0 in the dual meet season.
Ohio State was led by multiple wins from a quartet of swimmers: seniors Stefan Sigrist and Joel Elber, junior Elliott Keefer and sophomore Andrew Elliott. Senior diver Ryan Jefferson also had a pair of wins.
“This meet was a little bit personal,” Elber, one of 14 seniors on the team who had not beaten Indiana in a dual meet, said.
Ohio State was pumped and psyched for this meet from the start…actually from before the start. The team was addressed by Major General John Peabody of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Saturday morning, and the swimmers heard messages and lessons relating to purpose, standards, team-work and decisive points.
All excellent messages that clearly resonated on one of the biggest dual meet days of the year. That’s because for Ohio State in the sport of swimming, the meet against Indiana is typically circled on the calendar. No team outside of Ann Arbor, Mich., is on the Buckeyes’ radar like the Hoosiers.
“This is a huge meet,” Muncie, Ind., native Sam Pelkey said before the meet. “It is about the biggest there is…next to Michigan.”
“This is a big deal for us,” sophomore Lincoln Fahrbach said. “We always have had close meets with Indiana. It seems as if we are always competitive against each other and intense. We were all excited to go fast.”
The Buckeyes then proceeded to go fast, making a statement in the first event by taking the first three places in the 200 medley relay with the team of Elliott, Keefer, Tim Phillips and Elber cruising to an NCAA “B” cut win in 1:29.37.
Sigrist followed with a win in the 1000 freestyle to lead a Top 4 Ohio State sweep in the event with Mark Neiman and Brent Hitchcock second and third, respectively. Fellow senior Andrew Olson held off Indiana’s talented Titus Knight to win the 200 free in an NCAA “B” time of 1:37.45. And when Elliott and Itai Chammah went one-two in the 100 backstroke, with Elliott winning in another “B” time of 48.79, the Buckeyes had built a 60-14 lead.
The statements kept coming. Keefer led a one-two-three finish in the 100 breaststroke in 55.81 with Sam Pelkey and Daniel Malnik right behind.
Niksa Roki powered Ohio State to another Top 3 effort in the 200 butterfly, holding off a charging Quincy Lee to win in 1:49.08 with Austin Mudd third.
When the first half of the meet ended with Elber winning the 50 free in 20.52, Ohio State had built a commanding 105-26 lead.
Elber, a senior who is co-captaining the team for a school record third year, opened the second half of the meet with a win in the 100 free in 45.21. When Olson and Fahrbach finished second and third, respectively, the lead had grown to 121-29 and the team result on this day was no longer in doubt.
But there was still racing – and diving – to be had. Elliott, a talented sophomore from Granger, Ind., followed his 100 backstroke win with a win in the 200 in 1:48.05. The win was his team-leading ninth individual event win of the season.
Keefer matched Elber and Elliott by winning his second event of the day, the 200 breaststroke in a “B” cut time of 1:59.47. Soon after Sigrist, from Schaffhausen, Switzerland, doubled up as well, winning the 500 free in 4:32.24.
Then came a dominant win from the talented freshman Phillips, who won the 100 butterfly by almost three seconds in 48.60. And Justin Farra closed out the individual events with a win in the 200 individual medley in 1:50.16.
Capping an unbeaten day of racing, the team’s 400 freestyle relay team of Elber, Olson, Fahrbach and Phillips swam to a winning “B” time of 3:00.99.
The duals in the diving wells were equally as exciting, with Jefferson taking both the one- and three-meter springboard competitions with 357.23 and 409.65 points, respectively.
When the meet ended, the two rivals lined up for the hockey-playoff like handshake, a sign that these two teams may be rivals, but they are respectful rivals at that. The gesture did not go unnoticed by the Major General, whose comments to the team a few hours prior had included his “non-negotiable principles” which include the words “integrity” and “respect.”
Ohio State has off next weekend. The team will return to the pool for competitive action Jan. 29-30 for a rather large quadrangular meet featuring Michigan, Penn State and Northwestern. Time for the racing each day is 6 p.m. Friday and 12 noon Saturday.
Men’s Swimming and Diving
Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010
McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion
Team Scores: 1. Ohio State 224; 2. Indiana 74
Ohio State Event Winners: 200 medley relay – Elliott, Keefer, Phillips, Elber (1:29.37); 1000 freestyle – Sigrist (9:17.77); 200 freestyle – Olson (1:37.45); 100 backstroke – Elliott (48.79); 100 breaststroke – Keefer (55.81); 200 butterfly – Roki (1:49.08); 50 freestyle – Elber (20.52); 1-meter diving – Jefferson (357.23); 100 freestyle – Elber (45.21); 200 backstroke – Elliott (1:48.05); 200 breaststroke – Keefer (1:59.47); 500 freestyle – Sigrist (4:32.24); 100 butterfly – Phillips (48.60); 3-meter diving – Jefferson (409.65); 200 IM – Farra (1:50.16); 400 freestyle relay – Elber, Olson, Fahrbach, Phillips (3:00.99).