Oct. 19, 1999

COLUMBUS, Oh.- The Ohio State men’s swimming team compete in the Scarlet and Gray meet Thursday Oct. 21 at 5 p.m. at the Mike Peppe Aquatic Center.

Beginning Strides
As head coach Bill Wadley enters his 11th season at the helm of the men’s swimming team, he knows he has two essential traits in a great year–a solid roster of talented recruits with the combination of strong returnees. “Last season, we had a very young team, made up of many inexperienced freshmen and sophomores,” Wadley said. “Now they have had a year to mature, develop and really improve themselves. I think they are ready to take on the Big Ten and return to the top of the NCAA. This is our season to not only improve more, but prove we can be a contender.”

Senior Leadership
Leading the pack is senior and returning captain Jason Fox, who established himself as one the conferences top swimmers. Fox notched wins in the 200-yard breaststroke and 200 individual medley and placed sixth in the 200-medley event at the Big Ten Championships. Fellow seniors Mike Reilly and Matt Braun also will contribute to the squad as they have both been consistent dual meet scorers. This season Wadley hopes they will step up and make it into the championship finals at the Big Ten Championships. After coming off several injuries these past two seasons, Michael How is ready to contribute in his last season as a Buckeye. Swimming with a pacemaker for the past two seasons and just recently recovering from elbow surgery, How will be ready to return to the individual medley and butterfly events. Ryan Allinder, also will bring leadership to Wadley’s squad as he ends his season as a Buckeye.

Experienced Squad
Brian Malich heads up the junior class after posting another impressive season in the sprint freestyle events. Malich captured six first-place finishes in the 100 freestyle and as the lead-off leg in the 200 freestyle relay, he set a pool record this past season in the 50 freestyle at the Mike Peppe Aquatic Center. Along with Malich, sophomore Travis Carver will be an integral part of the Buckeyes’ relay teams, after notching wins in the 200 and 500 freestyle events in his freshmen campaign and just recently competing at Nationals this summer. D.J. Kelley, Kyle Ware and Drew Fiden will bring great depth to the breaststroke and look to continue to make even more progress this season. Fiden and Kelley both qualified for the U.S. Nationals this past summer. Sophomores Ivan Petrovic and Dan Vitina will be the core of the backstroke. Petrovic claimed big wins in the 200 backstroke, notching a personal best of 1:48.49 at the Big Ten Championships. The Rookies
11 freshmen will be added to the Buckeye roster for the 1999-00 season. Headlining the new recruits are Milos Cerovic, Brandon Deters and Nick Rees. Cerovic is a national record holder in the 200 backstroke and will add depth to the backstroke contigent. Deters is the fastest incoming freestyle sprinter of the class. As a high school All-American, Deters is a two-time state champion and a state record holder in the 50 freestyle. Rees had an outstanding summer as he swam for the Bahamas at the recent Pan American Games in the 100 butterfly.

Big Ten Battle
Heading into the Big Ten Championships, the conference title again looks to be another battle brewing amongst Minnesota, Michigan and Penn State, with Ohio State neck and neck for the third spot. Purdue, Wisconsin, Indiana and an improved Iowa team will bring tough teams to the Big Ten Championships. It is also possible that all ten teams could be ranked in the Top 25 of the nation. “Our depth as a conference is the best of any conference.” Wadley said. “In the Big Ten you can be very good and still not score. With the spreading of points and a team’s momentum, it is pretty much anybody’s game. It is up to us to break into that top three.” Wadley is optimistic that his squad’s improvement will lead to a top finish in the Big Ten Conference and also carry on the tradition of being a top 25 NCAA team. For the past 52 of the last 58 seasons, Ohio State has been in the Top 25 and 10 of 12 of Wadley’s teams have been in the NCAA Top 20. “With our experience, depth and now strong recruiting class,” Wadley said, “we are not only capable of being in the top of the Big Ten, but also we will be back into the top of the NCAA. I have no doubt that we will be back in the thick of it all.”

Summer Successes
Current Ohio State swimmers Jason Fox (Sr., Goshen, Ind.) and Travis Carver (So., Overland Park, Kan.) also experienced successes at the U.S. Nationals in Minneapolis, Minn. this summer. Fox placed 11th in the 200-meter individual medley with a time of 2:06.00. Carver swam a personal best in the 100 freestyle with a time of 51.60.