Feb. 29, 2004

The Ohio State men’s diving squad earned two of the conference’s top awards at the 2004 Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships which concluded Saturday in West Lafayette, Ind. Diving coach Vince Panzano was named 2004 Big Ten Diving Coach of the Year and Mitch Richeson, who won the 3-meter dive championship, was named Diver of the Year. Richeson also was named First Team All-Big Ten after his performance at the conference meet.

The diving squad finished the conference meet with one championship title and three Top 8 finishes in the 3-meter dive, four Top 16 finishes in the 1-meter dive and four Top 16 finishes in the platform event, accounting for 113 points, 44 more points than the second best diving squad. The Ohio State men’s swimming and diving team finished the conference meet in eighth place.

Panzano earned his eighth Big Ten Diving Coach of the Year award and has now coached Buckeye divers to 42 Big Ten individual titles. Ohio State has seen 72 Buckeyes claim a Big Ten title since the beginning of the conference meet, holding a 46-title edge over the closest Big Ten diving squad.

Richeson, a junior from Greenwood, Ind. (Greenwood), was Ohio State’s only student-athlete to be named First Team All-Big Ten at the conference meet as he had top performances in the 1- and 3-meter dives. Richeson was crowned 2004 Big Ten Champion in the 3-meter dive with a score of 653.75, defeating last years champion by more than 45 points and breaking the Big Ten diving championship meet record set in 1996. His score in the 3-meter dive was also a Boilermaker Aquatic Center pool record. Richeson placed second in the 1-meter dive with a score of 343.60 and posted a ninth-place finish in the platform dive with a score of 399.90.

Continuously improving at the Big Ten championships, Richeson was named Second Team All-Big Ten at the 2003 conference meet and has had second-place finishes in the 3-meter dive at the 2003 and 2002 Big Ten Championships and second- and third-place finishes in the 1-meter dive.

The entire diving squad earned points for the Buckeyes at the conference meet, with Marc Dreyer (So., Port Elisabeth, South Africa/Grey), Kellen Harkness (Fr., Puyallup, Wash./Cascade Christian) and Nick Hanneman (So., Upper Arlington, Ohio/Upper Arlington) each having Top 16 finishes in all three diving events. Dreyer placed 10th in the 1-meter dive, fourth in the 3-meter dive and 14th in the platform dive. Harkness placed 12th in the 1-meter dive, sixth in the 3-meter dive and 13th in the platform dive, while Hanneman placed 11th in the1-meter dive, seventh in the 3-meter dive and 15th in the platform dive.

The Buckeyes travel to the NCAA Zone C qualifiers March 12-14 in Bloomington, Ind. at the Counsilman Billingsley Aquatic Center to compete for a spot at the 2004 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, March 25-27 in Long Island, New York.