COLUMBUS, Ohio The nationally-ranked Ohio State men’s swimming and diving team captured its first Ohio State Swimming and Diving Invite title Sunday at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion with a score of 1382.5 points. The No. 11 Buckeyes topped three-time reigning champion Minnesota by over 500 points. 

“I am extremely please with this group of guys,” Bill Wadley, head men’s swimming coach, said. “It was a dynamite effort by the whole team, from the freshmen to the seniors. It was a fun weekend and fun to see all of their hard work being paid off.

“We’re very thrilled to win big over such a tough field of competitors.”

Rounding out the top five behind Ohio State was Minnesota with 873.5 points and then Penn State (649), Notre Dame (398) and Cleveland State (194).

A major highlight of the day’s events was the 200 breaststroke that saw the Buckeyes go 1-2-3-4-5, led by 2007 team Most Outstanding Swimmer Sam Pelkey. Despite injuries that have plagued his fall training, the junior took first in a meet-record time of 1:58.60.

“Sam Pelkey has an uncanny ability to take his game to the next level and is a champion both in the pool and in spirit,” Wadley said. “Sam has been injured all fall and really shined tonight. It is hard to imagine anyone with a unique ability to pull everything all together like he has.”

Also standing out was the performance by junior Niksa Roki in the 200 butterfly. The 2008 Croatian Olympian took third with an NCAA “B” time of 1:46.07, breaking a 24-year school record in the process.

“To have a swimmer break records like Niksa has this weekend at this time of the year is fantastic,” Wadley said. “He had an outstanding swim today.”

Reigning national champion Sean Moore had a dominating performance on the platform diving event for the Buckeyes. The sophomore took the title in a McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion record of 434.60 points.

Juniors Stefan Sigrist and Mark Neiman opened up the final session of the Invite with a 1-2 finish in the 1,650-yard freestyle. Sigrist won in a meet-record time and NCAA “B” cut time of 15:15.09, just edging out Neiman’s “B” time of 15:15.69.

Ohio State’s depth shone through in the evening’s next event as the Buckeyes had six out of eight swimmers in the 200 backstroke championship final. Penn State’s Patrick Schirk took the top spot, with Ohio State sophomore Phil Seleskie taking second in 1:46.55.

Sophomore Itai Chammah captured third in the event (1:46.82) and was followed by Justin Farra in fourth (1:47.13) and Tyler King in fifth (1:47.96). Freshman Austin Mudd and sophomore Michael Hulme rounded out the field, finishing seventh (1:49.17) and eighth (1:49.19), respectively.

In the 100 freestyle, Buckeye co-captain Joel Elber swam a career-best time of 44.13 to finish second just behind Minnesota’s Curt Carlson.

Closing out the weekend was the 400 freestyle relay. The team of junior Andrew Olson, Elber and freshmen Markus Sievers and Lincoln Fahrbach finished second in a “B” time of 2:58.00.

The Buckeyes will take a break from competition to focus on finals. The team returns to the pool on January 9 to face off with Wright State at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion. The co-ed meet begins at 5 p.m. 
Ohio State Swimming and Diving Invite
Saturday, Dec. 7, 2008
McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion; Columbus, Ohio
Team Scores: 1. Ohio State 1382.5; 2. Minnesota 873.5; 3. Penn State 649; 4. Notre Dame 398; 5. Cleveland State 194; 6. Purdue 133; 7. Miami (Fla.) 49; 8. Indiana 47; 9. Duke 24; 10. South Carolina 1.
Friday Event Winners: 1,650 freestyle
  1. S. Sigrist, Ohio State (15:15.09); 200 backstroke 1. Schirk, Penn State (1:43.64), 2. Seleskie, Ohio State (1:46.55); 100 freestyle 1. Carlson, Minnesota (42.99), 2. Elber, Ohio State (44.13); 200 breaststroke 1. Pelkey, Ohio State (1:58.60); 200 butterfly 1. Williams, Penn State (1:44.61), 3. Roki, Ohio State (1:46.07); 400 freestyle relay 1. Minnesota (2:54.96), 2. Olson, Elber, Sievers, Fahrbach Ohio State (2:58.00); Platform 1. Moore, Ohio State (434.60).