COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State University Buckeyes are positioned in second-place after the first day of competition at the Ohio State Swimming and Diving Invitational, being held at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion. The University of Minnesota, with wins in four of the five swimming events, leads the 12-team, three-day competition with 371 points. The Buckeyes are second with 318 points and Denver is third with 151.

Ohio State started off strong by scoring 60 points off its 200-freestyle relay teams with the No. 1 team of Matt Voelker, Joel Elber, Felipe Travesso and Andrew Bretscher taking second in 1:20.53. Minnesota won in 1:20.04.

The day one highlight for the Buckeyes was a win in the 500-yard freestyle by sophomore George Markovic. The Sydney, Australia native held off Minnesota’s talented Ray Betuzzi to win in a meet record time of 4:22.17. The time, an NCAA championships “B” qualifying standard, bested Betuzzi’s 2006 meet record of 4:23.38. Sophomore Stefan Sigrist also made the NCAA “B” qualifying standard in the event with a third-place time of 4:25.47. With a total of 10 Buckeyes making up the 16 spots in the finals and the consolation finals of this event, the team recorded an event-high 83 points.

“I’m really excited for George,” Bill Wadley, Ohio State head coach, said. “It was a thrilling race for him and he really came on strong at the end to win. Having 10 out of 16 swimmers score for us in this event is an unusual occurrence. We are very happy that the team did so well.”

In the 200 individual medley, sophomore Niksa Roki spoiled a 1-2-3 Minnesota sweep in the event by taking third in a career-best time of 1:49.74. The Gophers placed first, second and fourth overall. Ohio State freshman Justin Farra was fifth in 1:50.65, also a personal best swim.

“I’m very pleased with how Niksa and Justin finished,” Wadley said. “They keep getting faster. In the beginning we were uncertain about this event, but now it is exciting to see how much we have improved.”

Senior Matt Voelker, last week’s Big Ten Conference swimmer of the week, took second in the 50 freestyle with t time of :20.43 while sophomore Joel Elber was fourth in :20.68.

Freshman Sean Moore placed seventh on the 1-meter board with 303.80 points.

In the final swimming event of the evening, the 400 medley relay, Ohio State placed second to Minnesota. The Buckeyes’ quartet of Daniel Novak, Felipe Travesso, Andrew Bretscher and Matt Voelker recorded an NCAA “B” qualifying time of 3:15.07. The Golden Gophers won in a meet record time of 3:12.81.

“This is the fastest we have ever been at this time of year in our relays,” Wadley said. “We have some solid swimmers and we expect them to just keep getting better.”

The Ohio State Swimming and Diving Invitational continues Saturday and Sunday. Saturday preliminary races start at 10 a.m. with the finals beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday prelims begin at 9 a.m. with 10-meter platform diving finals starting at noon and swimming finals beginning at 3 p.m. There is no charge for admission to any of the sessions.
Men’s Swimming
Ohio State Swimming and Diving Invitational
Day 1: Friday, Nov. 30, 2007
Columbus, Ohio
Day 1 Team Scores: 1. Minnesota 371; 2. Ohio State 318; 3. Denver 151; 4. Notre Dame 89; 5. Michigan State and Iowa 85; 7. Hawaii and Arizona State 20; 9. Indiana and Purdue 16; 11. Alabama 15; 12. South Carolina 14.
Event Winners: 200 freestyle relay 1. Minn. 1:20.04; 2. Ohio State (Voelker, Elber, Travesso, Bretscher) 1:20.53; 500 freestyle Markovic (OSU) 4:22.17; 200 IM Payne (Minn.) 1:46.88; 3. Roki (OSU) 1:49.74; 50 freestyle Wooden (Minn.):20.15; 2. Voelker (OSU) :20.43; 400 medley relay 1. Minn. 3:12.81; 2. Ohio State (Novak, Travesso, Bretscher and Voelker) 3:15.07; 1 meter board  1. Beneditti (Ariz. St.) 374.80; 7. Moore (OSU) 303.80.