Feb. 25, 2003

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COLUMBUS, Ohio– The Ohio State men’s swimming and diving team travels to the 2003 Big Ten Championships March 27-29 at the Donald B. Canham Natatorium in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The team posted yet another winning season under head coach Bill Wadley, finishing the year with a 7-2 mark. Wadley now has coached 14 years at Ohio State without a losing season.

Bill Wadley has set a number of goals for his team for the Big Ten meet.

“We would like to have everyone post best times and have a great experience,” Wadley said. “We would like to see if we can develop some confidence at the championship level for the future.”

Individually, Wadley would like to see swimmers score in every event at the championships. “We have someone in every race that can compete,” Wadley said. “One of our team goals is to score at Big Tens in every race. We would like to have a finalist in every race. That will be a real challenge, but that’s one of our team goals. Then, of course, we would like to have a champion and get some NCAA qualifiers and USA Nationals qualifiers.”

Several teams stand in the way of a strong finish for the Buckeyes at the championships for the Big Ten, which boasts one of the best conferences in collegiate swimming. Six of the 10 Big Ten squads are ranked in the Top 25, according to the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. The list is headlined by three Top 10 teams including Michigan at No. 4, 2002 Big Ten Champions Minnesota at No. 6 and Wisconsin at No. 10. These teams are followed by Penn State at No. 17 and Purdue at No. 17. The Indiana Hoosiers round out the Big Ten’s Top 25 delegation at No. 25.

“The Big Ten is the best conference in America, by far, top to bottom,” Wadley said. “So, our athletes will get the thrill of experiencing a mini-NCAA championships. In many cases, the Top 3 swimmers will be in the Top 8 at NCAAs, so our kids will get a chance to experience competing with the best and against the best.”

The 2003 Big Ten Championships will consist of three days and six sessions. The meet will begin Thursday, with each day featuring both a morning and an evening session.

Individual swimming events will include preliminary heats in the morning session, with the Top 16 competitors in each event advancing to the finals that evening. The top eight swimmers from preliminary heats race in the A-Final for the Big Ten championship in the respective event, while finishers nine through 16 race in the B-Final. Diving will follow the same progression with the top eight in each preliminary competition advancing to finals that evening, vying for the conference title.

Relay events will be held during evening sessions and will feature no preliminaries. Each Big Ten squad fields one team which participates in the race for the conference championship.

Sophomore diver Mitch Richeson will head into the Big Ten championships as a sure-shot in diving events for the Buckeyes.

In his freshman campaign at the championships, Richeson was one of the most impressive first year competitors in diving, where he finished third in the 1-meter and eighth in the 3-meter dive.

So far this season, Richeson has picked up right where he left off, winning nine events and sweeping diving competition four times at dual meets. For his effort at the 2002 Tennessee Diving Invitational, where he placed first in the 1-meter and third in the 3-meter dive, he was named Big Ten Diver of the Week (Nov. 13).

Another Buckeye sophomore looking to have have an outstanding meet and score for the Buckeyes is Tommy Seay from Buffalo, N.Y.

Seay has had a breakout season, scoring a team-best 15 first-place finishes at dual meets this season. Five of his gold medals have come in the form of 200 individual medley wins, while six were won during freestyle relay races. Three came in the 100 free, while the remaining win came in the 100 backstroke vs. Cleveland State.

Seay holds season team-best times in the 200 IM, 100 freestyle and three freestyle relay events.

In 2002, Seay was one of the biggest freshman contributors for the Buckeyes placing 18th in the 400 IM, 22nd in the 100 freestyle at the Big Ten meet and also was a part of a fourth-place finish in the 800 freestyle relay.

While Seay will look to score big for the Buckeyes in the 100 free, rounding out the team’s big men in sprint events is fellow sophomore Andy Swonger. Swonger vill vie for one of the top spots in the Big Ten in the 50 free, his strongest event.

At dual meets this season, Swonger has finished first in the event five times and has not finished below second. On Nov. 16 in a meet at the Mike Peppe Aquatic Center vs. Miami (Ohio), he set a lifetime best in the event, touching the wall at 20.61. The time, which he hopes to beat at the conference meet, also is a team season’s best. He also is a part of season’s best times in the 200 and 400 medley relays as well as the 400 and 800 freestyle relays.

Swonger ranks second on the team in first-place finishes with 14 this season. In addition to his five wins in the 50 free, Swonger has scored six wins in freestyle relay events as well.

Making one final trip to the Big Ten championships is senior Nick Rees. It has been a long road for Rees, who started as a walk-on and has since blossomed into the second-fastest butterflyer in the storied history of Ohio State swimming.

Last season at the Big Ten meet, the 2000 Olympian for the Bahamas took eighth in the 100 butterfly and 16th in the 200 fly, posting the Buckeyes’ best times of the season as well as lifetime bests in both events. His time of 47.88 in the 100 fly marked the third fastest in Ohio State history and qualified him for the 2002 NCAA Championships, where he finished 34th in the event.

The Buckeyes have been strong finishers at dual meets this season, posting an impressive 7-1 record in freestyle relay events, which customarily closes off a swimming dual meet.

The team has won two 200-yard freestyle races and five 400-yard freestyle races so far in 2002-03. The team’s top times of the season stand at 1:24.52 in the 200 and 3:05.26 in the 400. Six different Buckeyes have contributed to this feat, including senior Nick Rees, sophomores Tommy Seay and Andy Swonger and freshmen Marty Tomes, Adam Braun and Blake Foltz.

Whatever happens this weekend at the Big Ten championships with Vince Panzano and his team of divers, the Buckeyes will be well represented at the upcoming NCAA Zone Qualifying meet to be held March 14-15 in Oxford, Ohio.

Buckeyes sophomore Mitch Richeson along with freshmen Marc Dreyer and Nick Hanneman all will travel to the meet, hoping to quailfy for the NCAA championships March 27-29 in Austin, Texas.

The strongest event for Ohio State this season heading into the championships may be the butterfly, where the team is led by senior Nick Rees and also has seen production out of freshman Marty Tomes.

So far this season, Rees has posted the team’s top time in the 100 and 200 fly, has scored 12 first-place finishes and has not finished below second place in a butterfly or medley race this season.

Another strength has been in the individual medley, where sophomore Tommy Seay has led the charge. Seay has been dominant in the 200 IM, where he won the race at five of the team’s eight meets. His 15 first-place finishes on the season, including relays, are a team-best.

The breaststroke has been a strong point for the 2002-03 team. Sophomores Matt Jeffries and Rob Kauscher and senior Matt Rusnov all have scored victories in breaststroke events with Kauscher holding both season’s best times.

Andreas Campioni has been the team’s biggest contributor in the backstroke. Campioni scored three first-place finishes in backstroke events and recently reset both team season’s best marks in backstroke events in a dual meet vs. Michigan.

In distance freestyle, Tomes, Vladi Dusil and Ryan Sciortino have been the biggest contributors.

Tomes has been the star freshman of the team, posting strong finishes all season in freestyle and butterfly events. Tomes was a three-time winner in his first meet as a Buckeye vs. Ohio on Oct. 25.

Sciortino holds the team’s Top 3 times in the 1,000 free as well as the team’s top time in the mile, while Dusil and Tomes have both helped out in the 500 free.

In sprint freestyle, Swonger has been the man to beat in the 50 free, where he continues to challenge his career best of 20.61 and did not finished below second-place this season.

Rees, Seay, Dusil, Tomes and freshman Adam Braun all have contributed to finishes in the 100 and 200 free. Together, the quintet posted seven first-place finishes, ten second-place finishes and six third-place finishes.

Diving has been a strong suit for the Buckeyes. Mitch Richeson claimed a Big Ten Diver of the Week award (Nov. 13), has swept diving events at four dual meets and has scored nine wins out of 14 competitions in which he competed. Freshmen Marc Dreyer and Nick Hanneman also have contributed, garnering eight second-place finishes, many of which trailed only Richeson.

The 2002-03 Ohio State men’s swimming team completed its dual meet schedule with a 7-2 overall record and a 1-2 mark in Big Ten play. The record marks 14 consecutive years without a losing season under head coach Bill Wadley.

The season kicked off with a dual meet at the Mike Peppe Aquatic Center vs. instate rival Ohio. After the Bobcats finished first in the 400-yard medley relay to open the meet, the Buckeyes proceeded to win all of the remaining 12 competitions to take a 138-92 victory. The win set the tone for the Buckeyes, who proceeded to win their next five meets, to take a 6-0 record into winter training.

Highlights for the Buckeyes over this stretch included a tri-meet victory over Louisville (175-55) and West Virginia (139-96) in Morgantown, W.Va. and back-to-back wins at home the following weekend over Utah (130-111) and the Miami RedHawks (150-90). Over the course of the two meets, the Buckeyes set eight team season’s best times which still stand.

The Buckeyes earned individual accolades during the fall season as well. Mitch Richeson was named Big Ten Diver of the Week after finishing first in the 1-meter and third in the 3-meter at the 2002 Tennessee Diving Invitational on Nov. 8, while Nick Rees was named Big Ten Swimmer of the week after a triple-win performance in an Ohio State victory over Cleveland State on Nov. 26.

With just three dual meets remaining, Ohio State entered 2003 and Big Ten play with high hopes, but took its first loss of the season to Indiana, 145-96, Jan. 11 at the Mike Peppe Aquatic Center..

The team rebounded the following week, scoring its first Big Ten victory of the season over Michigan State, Jan. 17 in Columbus. Tommy Seay was a triple winner in the victory, while Richeson swept diving competitions for the fourth time this season at dual meets. The Buckeyes then closed off their regular season with a 161-114 loss to No. 4 Michigan.

The Ohio State men’s swimming and diving finished its regular season Saturday, Feb. 1, with a 161-114 loss to No. 4 Michigan. The Buckeyes scored just one first-place finish on the afternoon, but set three season’s best times in the loss.

The sole individual winner on the day for Ohio State was sophomore Andy Swonger, who won the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 20.91. It was the fifth time Swonger has taken first in the 50 free this season.

Highlights for the Buckeyes also included Andreas Campioni, who reset both of his season team-best times in backstroke events. Campioni finished the 100 back in 51.48, beating out his time of 51.85, which he set on Nov. 16 vs. Miami. He also set the mark in the 200 back (1:52.81), replacing the time of 1:53.41, which he set vs. Indiana on Jan. 11.

In diving, Mitch Richeson was unable to score a first-place finish for just the second dual meet in which he has participated this season. Richeson finished in second in both the 1- and 3-meter dive behind Michigan’s Jason Coben, but set a team season’s best score of 325.73 in the 1-meter competition.

The Ohio State men’s swimming and diving team placed sixth at the 2002 Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships in Bloomington, Ind. scoring a total of 306 points. Minnesota took first place with a score of 711.50. Michigan came in second overall (636.50) and Penn State took third (442.50).

Diver Heath Knowling stole the show in the 1 and 3-meter diving events. Knowling won the 3-meter dive with a score of 582.45 and the 1-meter dive with a score of 342.15. At the conclusion of the competition, Knowling was named Big Ten Diver of the Year and head diving coach Vince Panzano was named Big Ten Diving Coach of the Year. Knowling also was named Diver of the (Big Ten) Championship for scoring the most points in his best two events.

Individual Buckeyes finishing in the top 10 included a ninth place finish by Robert Tiernan in the 500 freestyle (4:26.02) and also an eighth place finish in the 1650 freestyle (15:24.97). A third and eighth place finish was turned in by Mitch Richeson in the 1- and 3-meter dive, a fifth seventh place finish by Chris Monson in the 1- and 3-meter dive and an eighth place finish by Nick Rees in the 100 butterfly with a time of 48.38. Matt Jeffries recorded a ninth place finish for the Buckeyes in the 100 breaststroke (55.69), Ivan Petrovic placed sixth in the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:46.45.

In 14 seasons as head coach of the Ohio State swim team, Bill Wadley has compiled a record of 129-22 and has never had a losing season.

Wadley has coached 12 Olympians and 30 world ranked-swimmers. His teams have been ranked in the NCAA Top 20 for 11 of the past 14 seasons. The Buckeyes have been represented at the NCAA Championships 13 times in Wadley’s 14 years at the helm.

Both his 2001 and 2002 teams posted identical 10-1 records, giving Wadley double figures in wins a total of eight times.

On Nov. 8, Wadley earned his 125th win at Ohio State. A week later on Nov. 15, he earned his 150th career win. Overall, Wadley’s record stands at 153-32.

Vince Panzano continues his legacy at Ohio State as he enters his 25th year as coach of the Buckeye men’s and women’s divers.

Panzano, who was named the 2002 Big Ten Diving Coach of the Year (the seventh time he has earned the honor) has produced one world champion, one junior world champion, two Olympic medalists, 22 U.S. diving champions, eight NCAA champions, 14 NCAA runners-up and numerous Big Ten champions and NCAA All-Americans.

Members of the Buckeye squad who post NCAA qualifying times and select individuals who post NCAA consideration times will compete in the 2003 NCAA Championships, March 27-29, in Austin, Texas.