Ohio State Synchronized Swimming
at U.S. Collegiate Championships
March 17-19
Town of Tonawanda Aquatic and Fitness Center
Host: Canisius College (
Buffalo, N.Y.

Thursday, March 17
8:55 a.m. Solo Semifinal
12:05 p.m. Duet Semifinal
4:05 p.m. Trio Semifinal

Friday, March 18
8:05 a.m. “D” Technical Competition
9:35 a.m. “C” Technical Competition
11:10 a.m. “B” Technical Competition
12:55 p.m. “A” Technical Competition
3:35 p.m. Team Semifinal

Saturday, March 19
7:45 a.m. Duet Final
8:30 a.m. Trio Final
9:50 a.m. Duet Final
11:10 a.m. Team Final
12:05 p.m. Solo Final
1:15 p.m. Team Final

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State synchronized swimming team will compete at the 2011 U.S. Collegiate Championships Thursday-Saturday. In a competition that will feature the top synchronized swimming teams from NCAA Divisions I, II and III, as well as programs from NAIA colleges and universities, the 2011 edition of the championships will be hosted by Canisius College at the Town of Tonawanda Aquatic and Fitness Center in Buffalo, N.Y.

Ohio State is seeking its 27th U.S. Collegiate crown and 10th under head coach Linda Lichter-Witter after winning in back-to-back years in 2009 and 2010.

More than 200 of the top athletes from the collegiate scene vie for titles in the solo, duet, trio and team events. The championships are an open-class meet, combining competition from NCAA Divisions I, II, and III and NAIA colleges and universities.

Ohio State All-Time U.S. Collegiate Championships
Year // Team Champion // Ohio State Head Coach // Host School: Host Site
1977 // OHIO STATE // Mary Jo Ruggieri // Michigan State: East Lansing, Mich.
1978 // OHIO STATE // Mary Jo Ruggieri // Oberlin College: Gambier, Ohio
1979 // OHIO STATE // Mary Jo Ruggieri // State University of N.Y.: Albany, N.Y.
1980 // OHIO STATE // Mary Jo Ruggieri // Michigan: Ann Arbor, Mich.
1982 // OHIO STATE // Mary Jo Ruggieri // OHIO STATE: COLUMBUS, OHIO
1983 // OHIO STATE // Mary Jo Ruggieri // Swarthmore College: Swarthmore, Pa.
1985 // OHIO STATE // Mary Jo Ruggieri // IUPUI: Indianapolis, Ind.
1986 // OHIO STATE // Mary Jo Ruggieri // Alabama: Tuscaloosa, Ala.
1987 // OHIO STATE // Mary Jo Ruggieri // OHIO STATE: COLUMBUS, OHIO
1988 // OHIO STATE // Mary Jo Ruggieri // Richmond: Richmond, Va.
1989 // OHIO STATE // Mary Jo Ruggieri // Justus Aquatic Center: Orlando, Fla.
1990 // OHIO STATE // Mary Jo Ruggieri // OHIO STATE: COLUMBUS, OHIO
1991 // OHIO STATE // Mary Jo Ruggieri // Arizona: Tucson, Ariz.
1992 // OHIO STATE // Mary Jo Ruggieri // Wheaton: Norton, Mass.
1993 // OHIO STATE // Mary Jo Ruggieri // Florida State: Tallahassee, Fla.
1994 // OHIO STATE // Mary Jo Ruggieri // Walsh University: Canton, Ohio
1995 // OHIO STATE // Mary Jo Ruggieri // Stanford: Stanford, Calif.
1996 // OHIO STATE // Linda Lichter-Witter // Canisius: Tonawanda, N.Y.
1997 // OHIO STATE // Linda Lichter-Witter // Florida State: Tallahassee, Fla.
2000 // OHIO STATE // Linda Lichter-Witter // OHIO STATE: COLUMBUS, OHIO
2001 // OHIO STATE // Linda Lichter-Witter // Midtown Aquatic Center: Newport News, Va.
2002 // OHIO STATE // Linda Lichter-Witter // Wheaton College: Norton, Mass.
2003 // OHIO STATE // Linda Lichter-Witter // Arizona: Tucson, Ariz.
2004 // OHIO STATE // Linda Lichter-Witter // Michigan: Ann Arbor, Mich.
2009 // OHIO STATE // Linda Lichter-Witter // Incarnate Word: San Antonio, Texas
2010 // OHIO STATE // Linda Lichter-Witter // Stanford: Stanford, Calif.

About the U.S. Collegiate Championships
More than 200 of the top athletes from the collegiate scene vie for titles in the solo, duet, trio and team events. The championships are an open-class meet, combining competition from NCAA Divisions I, II, and III and NAIA colleges and universities.

Flashback-2010 U.S. Collegiate Championships
For the 26th time in the history of the program, Ohio State was crowned U.S. Collegiate Synchronized Swimming Champions. Behind wins in the team, trio and duet routines, the Buckeyes compiled 96 points at the Avery Aquatic Pavilion in Palo Alto, Calif., March 13, 2010. Host Stanford finished second with 82 points.  
“We did great,” Linda Lichter-Witter, head coach of the Buckeyes said. “We did really well, but it wasn’t easy. We had a lot of support from people who travelled out here for us.”

It was the ninth title for the Scarlet and Gray in 14 seasons under Lichter-Witter. Following the event, senior Barbara Nesbitt was named the Individual High Point champion. Six Buckeyes also earned All-America honors. Meghan Kinney, Nesbitt, Paige Ramsey, Deborah Shim, Michelle Theriault and Caitlin Stewart (honorary) were named to the elite team. 

Considered one of the most dynamic and eye-catching events of synchronized swimming, the team routine final featured the Scarlet squad tallying a 95.500. The group of Lauren Robinson, Jackie Mundy, Nesbitt, Ramsey, Shim, Hannah Shively, Emilie Siemer and Stewart outdistanced Stanford’s 94.875 for its third-straight title and 28th overall.
Raquel Aguado, Kayley Colville, Colleen Courtmanche, Liz Derr, Rita Gillan, Liana Litsky, Asia Luke and Samantha Schmidt of the Gray squad finished fourth with a 91.375. 

A 93.125, a season high, was the magic score that propelled the trio of Nesbitt, Shim and Theriault to the gold medal. The Buckeyes have now captured 25 trio titles all-time and their second consecutive. Kinney, Ramsey and Stewart came together to earn a 92.750 for third place behind the Stanford group of Taylor Durand, Maria Koroleva and Olivia Morgan (93.000).

Kinney and Theriault, who were members of the U.S. National Team Training squad, proved why they were part of such a prestigious roster as they won the Buckeyes their 22nd duet title in program history.

The duo executed a 93.875 performance, which served as their season high. In second place were Yulia Shepeleva and Natalia Tarasova of Canisius College (93.250).

Nesbitt was .500 points short in her final quest for the solo gold medal. The Buckeye from Riverside, Calif., tallied 93.500 points for second behind Tarasova’s 94.000. However, Nesbitt’s score did serve as a personal best this season.

Did You Know?
Head coach Linda Lichter-Witter has coached 115 Collegiate All-Americans, including current Buckeyes Paige Ramsey, Deborah Shim and Michelle Theriault.  

Thank You Seniors
The North Regional championships March 5-6 served as the final home meet for the Buckeyes and seniors Monica Finnigan, Liana Litsky, Deborah Shim and Michelle Theriault were honored before the meet.  Each senior also performed a short routine after being recognized. The quartet recently reflected on their years at Ohio State and what their plans will be following graduation. To watch the video, click HERE.

Last Time Out – North Regional Championships
After owning the lead entering the technical competition March 5, Ohio State captured its 21st North Regional championship with 105 points the following day at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion. The Buckeyes were first in three of the four technical aspects to gain 12 points during the second day of competition. Lindenwood University finished second with 86 points and the University of Minnesota rounded out the Top 3 with 70 points.

The Scarlet and Gray have won the North Regional championships each year since its inception in 1990.

Ohio State amassed 93 points after day one. The Buckeyes swept the four routines with a first-place finish in each. For the team routine, the Scarlet Squad dazzled the audience as it took first with a score of 96.667. Deborah Shim, Michelle Theriault, Paige Ramsey, Lauren Nicholson, Lauren Robinson, Colleen Courtmanche, Chelsea Aton and Alex Beckett made up the Scarlet team. Ohio State’s Gray squad of Monica Finnigan, Raquel Aguado, Katie LaBounty, Kayley Colville, Caitlin Hoffman, Lara Tutton, Jenny Mann and Liana Litsky received a score of 92.667 for second-place.

Freshman Yuliya Maryanko again wowed the crowd with her outstanding solo performance. With a mark of 95.333, Maryanko took first place in the solo routine. The Buckeyes placed Nicholson in the solo competition as an honorary competitor and she came in fourth with a score of 88.50.  

In the duet routines, freshman-senior duo Maryanko and Theriault captured the win with a score of 94.333. Lindenwood’s Anouk Aman and Mikayla Francese took second with an 87.833. Rounding out the Top 3 with a mark of 87.667 was Ohio State’s Courtmanche and Ramsey as honorary competitors.

Two Ohio State trios competed, finishing first and second. Beckett, Theriault and Shim made up the first-place trio with a mark of 93.0. Ohio State’s second trio of Ramsey, Nicholson and Robinson had a score of 92.333.

U.S. National Team Update
Leah Pinette, who lettered for the Scarlet and Gray from 2005-08, was named to the 2011 U.S. FINA World Championship Team. She will compete in Shanghai, China, July 16-31 as part of the 14th Annual FINA World Aquatics Championships.

Pinette was an All-American for the Buckeyes in 2007 and 2008 and was a member of the U.S. National Team II squad while competing with the Scarlet and Gray. She also received Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2006 and 2008. During her junior year, she was the recipient of the Buckeye Award which recognizes the student-athlete with the most outstanding Buckeye Spirit.

The U.S. National Team recently competed at the German Open where they finished fifth.

Team Meghan Update
Meghan Kinney, a Buckeye letterwinner in 2009 and 2010, was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma this past fall and in an effort to offset the costs of medical bills, several organizations have joined the “Team Meghan” effort. Team Meghan

Included in that group are Ohio State student-athletes, who have raised more than $5,000 to date for the cause by selling teal “Team Meghan” wrist bands.

Additionally, Canisius College, hosts of the 2011 U.S. Collegiate Championships, will donate $2 from every ticket sold to Team Meghan.

Up Next 
In conjunction with Ohio State Recreational Sports, the Buckeyes will host the 2011 U.S. Senior National Championships April 14th-16th. The Buckeyes and McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion are no strangers to hosting premier synchronized swimming championships as they hosted the U.S. Collegiate National championships in 2008, 2000, 1990, 1987 and 1982.