COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State swimming & diving team returns to dual meet competition after nearly a two-month hiatus with a dual against Top 25 opponents in Florida and Kentucky on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 4-5 in Gainesville, Fla., at the Exatech Arena. The No. 14 men’s team faces off with the No. 5 Gators and No. 25 Wildcats, while the No. 22 women’s team goes up against the No. 14 Kentucky and No. 22 Florida teams. The double dual presents a unique opportunity as the teams will be competing in essentially the same meet twice.
Swimming is set to begin at 1 p.m. ET on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday. Diving will take place in Orlando, Fla., at the Orlando YMCA at 10 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday.
WAYS TO FOLLOW
The meet will be streamed on SEC Network Extra and WatchESPN.com. Live results will also be available on the Meet Mobile app and DiveMeets.com. Keep up with the Buckeyes competing by following Ohio State Swimming & Diving on Twitter @OhioStSwimDive.
Friday – Swimming
200 Medley Relay
400 Free Relay
Friday – Diving
Saturday – Swimming
400 Medley Relay
200 Free Relay
Saturday – Diving
LAST TIME OUT
Wrapping up the first half of the season, the Buckeyes hosted the annual Ohio State Invitational from Nov. 15-17. Throughout the three-day meet, Buckeye after Buckeye set new season-bests and NCAA “B” Cut times. Hosting several ranked teams, Ohio State won eight events overall. On the men’s side, Michael Salazar (100 Fly), Ruslan Gaziev (100 Free, 200 Free), Jacob Fielding (3-Meter), Jacob Siler (Platform) and Jason Mathews (200 Breast) won gold. Hanna Gresser claimed the win in the 100 Breast and Lara Tarvit took first on the platform for the women’s team.
The men’s team finished the invitational in first place with 2,653 points, 465 points ahead of second-place No. 21 Notre Dame. The women’s team took fourth behind three of the top-ranked teams in the country – No. 3 Stanford, No. 14 Notre Dame and No. 17 Kentucky.
SCOUTING THE GATORS
The No. 5 Florida men’s team is 5-1 in dual meets this season, currently on a three-meet win streak and finished first at the Georgia Tech Invitational. The Gators knocked off defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Texas in a double dual on Oct 19-20, 178-175, but fell to No. 3 Indiana, 227-126.
Junior Khader Baqlah owns the fourth-fastest 200 Free time in the nation at 1:32.91, leading a team with eight times in the Top 10 nationally. The 800 Free Relay squad holds the No. 3 time overall after posting a time of 6:15.04.
Ranked No. 10 by the CSCAA, the Florida women own a 7-1 dual meet record. Like the men’s team, the women’s team is riding a three-meet win streak and placed first the Georgia Tech Invitational. The Gators upset No. 6 Indiana on Oct. 20 by a tally of 198-155, going on to win the next two meets against No. 11 Georgia and No. 21 Florida State.
Freshman Vanessa Pearl leads the way for top times, sitting fifth nationally in both the 200 Breast (2:08.04) and the 400 IM (4:05.07). Pearl has earned four SEC weekly honors throughout the season.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
The No. 13 Kentucky women’s team is 3-2 in dual meets, and placed third at the Ohio State Invitational. Despite starting the season 0-2, the Wildcats won three-straight duals against LSU, Missouri and Arkansas before taking on the OSU Invite.
The No. 25 men’s team owns a 3-1 dual meet record, with the only loss of the season coming to No. 3 Indiana, and finished third overall at the Ohio State Invitational. The Wildcats were last in action at the USA Winter Nationals and the Miami Invitational.
The top performer for Kentucky is junior Asia Seidt, who currently owns three of the Top Five times in the nation. Seidt is No. 2 overall in the 200 Back with a time of 1:49.35, No. 4 in the 200 IM at 1:54.37 and No. 5 in the 100 Back with a mark of 51.25. Junior Ali Galyer ranks third in the 200 Back with a time of 1:51.29.
OHIO STATE IN THE RANKINGS
In the December CSCAA Rankings, both the Ohio State men’s and women’s teams remain among the Top 25 in the nation. The men lead the way at No. 14, and the women move up a spot to No. 22.
Five Big Ten men’s team are ranked in the Top 25, and Ohio State remains the third-highest ranked team out of those five. Indiana is the top-ranked B1G team at No. 3, followed by Michigan at No. 4. Purdue (No. 18) and Minnesota (No. 24) are also ranked among the Top 25. On the women’s side, five teams from the Big Ten stack up in the rankings. Michigan is No. 2, followed by Indiana at No. 14 and Wisconsin at No. 16. Minnesota is No. 18 and the Buckeye women are the next highest-ranked team at No. 22.
Not only is the conference a force in the rankings, but non-conference Ohio State opponents are also heavily present in the poll. On the women’s side, the Buckeyes have met three ranked teams in a dual meet setting – No. 6 Louisville, No. 8 Texas A&M and then-ranked No. 22 Akron. OSU competed with three top-tier teams in No. 3 Stanford, No. 13 Kentucky and No. 15 Notre Dame at the Ohio State Invite. Overall, the women will finish the season meeting with at least 12 ranked teams.
The same is true for the men’s team, with past opponents being No. 8 Louisville, No. 10 Texas A&M, No. 18 Alabama. The Buckeyes took on another pair of ranked teams in No. 23 Notre Dame and No. 25 Kentucky at the Ohio State Invitational. Ohio State will see at least 12 ranked teams this season.
The Buckeyes will have a week off before taking on Michigan on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 2 p.m. in Ann Arbor, Mich.