Oct. 22, 2002

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COLUMBUS, Ohio— The Ohio State men’s swimming and diving team will kick off its 2002-03 season against the Ohio University Bobcats at the Mike Peppe Aquatic Center Friday at 5 p.m.

The team looks to build upon the 2001-02 season, where it finished 10-1 and sixth at the Big Ten championships.

While 2002 saw the departure of several crucial members of the team, a strong troop of returning athletes, combined with 11 incoming freshmen, creates a strong foundation for the 2002-03 squad.

The Buckeyes come into the 2002-03 season with no superstars to provide dominance in any particular event, but they should have solid competitors in every race.

The strongest event for Ohio State in the upcoming season may be the butterfly. The team returns Nick Rees and brings in an outstanding freshman in Marty Tomes. The team also will look for production out of junior Steve Plogsted.

Rees, who is from Nassau, Bahamas, is a former Olympian, who competed in the 2000 Olympics for his homeland. He qualified for the 2002 NCAA Championships in the 100 butterfly for the second-consecutive season, placing 34th.

Another strength should be in the individual medley, where sophomore Tommy Seay will lead the charge along with freshman stand-out Jeff Gullett. The breaststroke will be another strong point in the 2002-03 team. Sophomores Matt Jeffries and Rob Kauscher will return and guide the way in the event along with senior Matt Rusnov.

If the team does have one area of concern, it may be in the backstroke. Andreas Campioni will lead the charge in this event, hoping to quicken his times from last season.

The team also should continue its success in both sprint and distance freestyle. Vladi Dusil, Sean Veit, Andy Swonger and Ryan Sciortino among others will look to help develop a large class of freshmen in the freestyle events.

The upcoming season should be another stellar year for Vince Panzano, Ohio State diving coach, now entering his 25th season at the helm.

Heath Knowling, the 2002 Big Ten Diver of the Year and an All-Big Ten honoree, returns for his senior season. Knowling is the 2002 Big Ten Champion in both the 1- and 3-meter dive.

Mitch Richeson, coming off an outstanding freshman campaign, also will return for the Buckeyes. Richeson was a finalist at Big Ten championships in both the 1- and 3-meter competitions. Richeson finished third in the 1-meter and eighth in the 3-meter. He also qualified for U.S. Diving Championships in the summer of 2002.

The 2002-03 Buckeyes features a strong class of a 11 freshmen.

The class, which includes eight swimmers from Ohio, is comprised of freestyle swimmers Adam Braun, Ben Knickrehm and Brian Tiemeier, butterfly swimmers Tim Webb and Peter Cardarelli, distance swimmers Matthew Chute and Benji Herschberger, Gullett in the IM, as well as Blake Foltz, Chris Stoneberg and Tomes, who look to contribute in multiple events.

The class also includes divers Mark Dreyer, a South African with a wealth of international experience and Nick Hanneman, the reigning Ohio high school diving champion, who hails from Upper Arlington.

The last time Ohio State and Ohio faced off was in 2001 where the Buckeyes opened the winter portion of the 2001-02 season with a 136-96 win over the Bobcats in Athens, Ohio. The Buckeyes had the top finisher in all 13 events.

Rob Tiernan was a double-winner for the Buckeyes, winning both the 1,000 freestyle (9:39.22) and the 500 freestyle (4:39.76). Other top-performers for the Buckeyes were Ivan Petrovic in the 200 backstroke (1:53.79) and Carlos Oliva in the 200 breaststroke (2:06.74).

Heath Knowling won the three-meter dive (291.45) and Chris Monson took first in the one-meter event (288.30) to give the Buckeyes a sweep on the boards.

The Ohio State men’s swimming team began its season Friday Oct. 11 with an intrasquad meet. The competition came down to the final race, the 200 freestyle relay, where the Gray team nipped Scarlet by just one tenth of a second (1:27.68) to take the meet 99-98.

Highlights of the meet included Scarlet team member Marty Tomes. The freshman had a strong showing, winning both the 200 freestyle (1:47.14) and the 200 butterfly (1:59.72). Fellow freshmen Benji Herschberger and Tim Webb also won events, claiming the 500 freestyle and 100 freestyle, respectively.

Leading the Gray squad was Rob Kauscher, who scored a first-place finish for the team in the 200 breaststroke (2:14.09). The team also claimed victory in both relay events including the 200 medley relay to kick off the competition and the 200 freestyle relay.

THE 2001-02 SEASON
The Ohio State men’s swimming and diving team capped a 10-1 season with a sixth place finish at the Big Ten Championships in Bloomington, Ind., Feb. 28-March 1. The Buckeyes came home with one new school record, 25 times that rank in the Top 10 all-time at Ohio State and 44 career best times.

Diver Heath Knowling capped off a remarkable Big Ten season by sweeping both diving events at the Big Ten Championships. He won the three-meter dive with a score of 582.45 and one-meter dive with a score of 342.15.

Vince Panzano, OSU diving coach, earned Big Ten Coach of the Year, marking the seventh time he has received the honor. Knowling also was named Diver of the Big Ten Championship, Big Ten Diver of the Year and All-Big Ten.

Knowling, Chris Monson and Nick Rees competed at the 2002 NCAA Championships, marking the 12th time in the last 13 years that the Buckeyes have had an entry at the NCAA Championships.

Knowling placed the highest among the Buckeyes, finishing 17th in the final round of the one-meter dive with a score of 282.55. Knowling also placed 31st in the three-meter dive with 266.45. Monson competed in both diving events as well, placing 28th in the three-meter dive (282.50) and 29th in the one-meter (255.05). Rees swam in the 100 butterfly, placing 34th in the preliminary round (48.53).

Bill Wadley enters his 14th season as coach of the Ohio State men’s swimming team.

Thus far, he has compiled a 122-20 record at Ohio State and a 146-30 mark overall in his collegiate coaching career.

His third victory this season will be his 125th as coach of the Buckeyes. His fourth will be the 150th of his career. Wadley is 57 wins away from eclipsing Mike Peppe to move into first all-time in coaching wins at Ohio State.

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.

The Buckeyes will travel to Morgantown, W.Va. Nov. 8 to take on West Virginia and Louisville. The meet begins at 5 p.m.

Ohio State defeated West Virginia, 136-99, during the 2001-02 season at the Mike Peppe Aquatic Center.