COLUMBUS, Ohio – Friday when the No. 11 Ohio State men’s swimming and diving team hosts Eastern Michigan in its final dual meet of the season, coaches, fans and teammates will have the opportunity to salute and honor 10 senior members of the team who have proudly competed this season carrying the title of “defending Big Ten Conference champions.”

These 10 student-athletes were all juniors last year when Ohio State won its first Big Ten crown in 54 years and in three weeks they’ll look to lead and/or cheer on their teammates as the team competes for back-to-back crowns at the University of Minnesota’s University Aquatic Center. 

But first, prior to the start of the meet Friday which begins at 5 p.m. and pits the 9-1 Buckeyes against the 4-3 Eagles, this Top 10 list of Buckeyes will make one final dual meet deck appearance at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion:

  • Justin Farra, a political science major from Clarksville, Ohio;
  • Michael Hulme, an international studies major from Bozeman, Mont.;
  • Bobby Jenrow, a biology major from Redford, Mich.;
  • Elliott Keefer, a history and international studies major from Loveland, Ohio;
  • Jayson King, a consumer and family financial services major from Overland Park, Kan.;
  • Quincy Lee, a civil engineering major from Portland, Ore.;
  • Sean Moore, a business major from Englewood, Colo.;
  • Tom O’Neill, a finance major from Malverne, N.Y.;
  • Ben Savonen, a team tri-captain and an engineering major from Carleton, Mich.; and
  • Phil Seleskie, a hospitality management major from Hastings, Minn.

About Eastern Michigan  Eastern Michigan is the dominant program in the Mid American Conference. Coach Peter Linn, who led nearby Upper Arlington High School to three state championships in the 1980s, has guided the program for the past 23 years and has won 19 MAC championships on the men’s side and two on the women’s side. In the process, his teams have won 59 consecutive dual meets vs. MAC schools, dating to 1997-98. The Eagles are 4-3 this season. Diving coach Loren “Buck” Smith is in his 11th year with the program.

Order of Events The Eastern Michigan meet will be a single dual meet between each program’s men’s teams.  There will breaks for 1- and 3-meter diving competitions. The order of events will be:

  • 200 medley relay
  • 1000 free
  • 200 free
  • 100 back
  • 100 breast
  • 200 fly
  • 50 free
  • 1-meter diving
  • 100 free
  • 200 back
  • 200 breast
  • 500 free
  • 100 fly
  • 3-meter diving
  • 400 IM
  • 200 free relay

A Remarkable Run  The 2011 senior class has helped the Buckeyes through a remarkable run of successes (and their run isn’t done!). Since the start of the 2007-08 season when these guys were freshmen, Ohio State has gone 38-5 in dual meets, finished fourth, second and first, respectively, at the Big Ten championships, and improved each year at the NCAA championships with final team finishes of 16th, 12th, and ninth. Let’s learn more about this senior class…

Justin Farra is having an outstanding senior season, having twice been named Big Ten Swimmer of the Week and swimming the fastest time in the Big Ten in the 200 IM … the second-fastest 200 and 400 individual medley swimmer in school history, Justin is also one of the top students on the team … he has twice been named a Big Ten Conference Distinguished Scholar and he is a three-time OSU Scholar Athlete … he has swam in three individual event finals at the Big Ten championships.

Michael Hulme competes in the backstroke, IM and freestyle events … he is majoring in international studies and is a three-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree … he won his first collegiate race last year, taking the 400 individual medley vs. Denison … on a national level, Michael has competed at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, the 2009 U.S. National Championships and the 2010 Conoco-Phillips U.S. National Championships.   

Bobby Jenrow is a two-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and he is also an Academic All-Big Ten Conference honoree … he swims the butterfly, freestyle and individual medley events … he scored points for the Buckeyes in the 200 butterfly and 400 individual medley at the 2008 Big Ten Championships … he has dual meet wins this year in the 200 IM and the 200 back vs. Wright State … last August he competed on a national level, at the 2010 Conoco-Phillips U.S. National Championships in Irvine, Calif.

Elliott Keefer is coming off a tremendous junior campaign that extended into the summer months when he competed at the 2010 Conoco-Phillips U.S. National Championships … at that meet he swam the second-fastest 200 breaststroke time in the United States, placed third in the event and made the U.S. team to the Pan Pacific Championships … his efforts qualified him to compete at the 2011 World University Games in Shenzhen, China … all this coming after Elliott was dominant at the 2010 Big Ten championships, winning the 100 breaststroke title in school-record time and taking second in the 200 in another school-record time … a three-time honorable mention All-American, Elliott is a three-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and a two-time Academic All-Big Ten Conference honoree.

Jayson King is a three-year Varsity O letterwinner who swims the middle distance freestyle events … he has a dual meet win in the 500 free, this coming in 2007-08 as a freshman against Eastern Michigan and Michigan State … recent national meets he has qualified for and competed at include the 2010 Conoco-Phillips U.S. National Championships in Irvine, Calif. this past August and the 2009 U.S. National Championships in Indianapolis.

Quincy Lee earned the team’s Carl Wirthwein Award as most improved swimmer last year … he is primed for even greater achievements as a senior … after missing the school record in the 200 butterfly last year by two-tenths, Quincy kept getting stronger and faster until he broke the record at the NCAA championships … he also swam the third-fastest 100 fly time in school history  … and for the third consecutive year he scored points for the Buckeyes at the Big Ten championships … he was a finalist in both the 100 and 200 fly events at Big Tens, finishing in fifth- and sixth-place, respectively.

Sean Moore exploded onto the NCAA scene as a freshman, winning the 2008 NCAA championship on platform with an NCAA record score of 478.20 points to join his father, Tim, as an NCAA champion … he has since claimed five All-American honors … Sean has a rich resume of national and international competitions, including competing at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Diving Trials … unfortunately, Sean has not been able to dive competitively for over a year due to injury … outstanding in the classroom, Sean was named to the inaugural Big Ten Distinguished Scholar list and he is also a three-time OSU Scholar-Athlete.

Tom O’Neill is a distance freestyler for the Buckeyes who is serious about school and serious about his swimming … he helped the Buckeyes to a win over Miami earlier this year by winning both the 500 and 1000 freestyles, and an hour later he scored points in the 500 in the team’s win over Tennessee … in the summer of 2009 he competed in the U.S. Open Water Festival, held off the coast of Fort Myers Beach, Fla., and in 2007 he qualified for the 10K Open Water Olympic Trials … Tom is a three-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.

Ben Savonen is a three-year letterman who has earned the respect of the entire team because of his work ethic and attitude … he was named one of three tri-captains of the 2010-11 team in the fall – voted on by his peers – and he is the only senior captain in the group … he swims the individual medley events and the freestyle … he picked up his first collegiate victory earlier this year, in the 200 IM vs. Cleveland State and Denison, and he duplicated his win vs. Wright State … majoring in engineering, Ben is a three-time OSU Scholar-Athlete and a two-time Academic All-Big Ten Conference honoree.

Phil Seleskie held the Ohio State 200 backstroke record for a time and he entered his senior season with the second-fastest 200 back time and the fifth-fastest 400 IM time … he has two Big Ten Conference championship meet final races to his credit, and he is one of only a handful of three-year point scorers for the Buckeyes at the conference championships … last year, he  was 10th in the 400 individual medley at Big Tens and ninth in the 200 backstroke … Phil has earned the team’s most improved swimmer and most promising freshman awards … he has an extensive national meet resume, having competed at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team trials in Omaha, Neb., and the 2009 U.S. National Championships in Indianapolis.

Because It’s Too Hard Not to Look  Last week was arguably the fastest weekend of racing for the Big Ten Conference teams as all are getting primed for the “big meet” Feb. 23-26 in Minneapolis, Minn. Although not a complete reflection of what’s going on in the Big Ten Conference because one just doesn’t know how the other teams have prepared for their meets so far, here is just a random look at four teams in the conference in terms of Top 10 and Top 5 fastest times to date. So far (listed alphabetically)…

  • Indiana has 23 Top 10 times and 15 Top 5 times in individual events;
  • Michigan has 25 Top 10 times and 10 Top 5 times;
  • Minnesota has 16 Top 10 times and nine Top 5 times; and
  • Ohio State has 26 Top 10 times and 18 Top 5 times.

Ohio State’s Top Times in 2010-11…

50 free – Lincoln Fahrbach, 20.21 B

100 free – Lincoln Fahrbach, 44.71

200 free – Stephen Sakaris, 1:37.27 B

500 free – Brent Hitchcock, 4:23.62, B

1000 free – Brent Hitchcock, 9:11.63

1,650 free – Ty Perkins, 15:17.77 B

100 back – Andrew Elliott, 46.15 A

200 back – Andrew Elliott, 1:42.62 B

100 breast – Elliott Keefer, 54.12 B

200 breast – Elliott Keefer, 1:55.55 B

100 fly – Tim Phillips, 47.07 B

200 fly – Quincy Lee 1:45.57 B

200 IM – Justin Farra, 1:45.96 B  

400 IM – Justin Farra, 3:50.16 B

200 free relay – Fahrbach, Schnur, Holmes, Phillips, 1:20.15 B

400 free relay – Fahrbach, Holmes, Schnur, Phillips, 2:56.23 B

800 free relay – Holmes, Fahrbach, Sakaris, Phillips, 6:27.81 B

200 medley relay – Elliott, Keefer, Lee, Schnur, 1:27.35 B

400 medley relay – Elliott, Keefer, Lee, Phillips, 3:10.07 B

A indicates NCAA qualifying standard; B indicates NCAA provisional qualifying standard

Poll Positions  Ohio State has dropped from a high of No. 8 in the TYR/College Swimming Coaches Association of America Top 25 poll to No. 11. The Buckeyes are the highest-ranked Big Ten Conference team.

Ohio State…To Date  Coach Bill Wadley’s men’s team is 9-1 in dual meets this season and also has a huge and impressive win over a 12-team field at the AT&T U.S. Short Course National Championships.  The team has dual meet wins over Kenyon, Cleveland State, Denison, Miami, Tennessee, Wright State, Michigan State, Northwestern and Penn State. The team’s only loss was last weekend at Michigan. The Buckeyes also have a runner-up finish at the seven-team Purdue Invitational.

Captains  Senior Ben Savonen and two juniors – Andrew Elliott and Lincoln Fahrbach – were named captains of the defending Big Ten champion Buckeyes. Selected by a team vote, the three chosen exemplify the dedication, perseverance and overall spirit of the collective group.

International Tim  Tim Phillips competed for Team USA at the 2010 FINA Short Course World Swimming Championships in Dubai in December. Phillips was part of a U.S. team of 19 men’s swimmers.

Swimmers of the Week  Three Buckeyes have been named Big Ten Conference Swimmer of the Week a total of four times this season: Zach Holmes, Tim Phillips and Justin Farra (twice).

Big Ten Coach of the Year Bill Wadley  Bill Wadley, the 2010 Big Ten Coach of the Year, is in his 22nd year at Ohio State and he has an Ohio State dual meet record of 195-35. He has coached 15 Olympians and his teams have been ranked in the NCAA Top 25 for 18 of the past 21 seasons. Buckeye swimmers and divers have qualified for the NCAA championships in 19 of Wadley’s 21 years as coach. Wadley has also produced more than 35 world ranked swimmers.

Diving Coach Vince Panzano  Vince Panzano is in his 33rd year as coach at his alma mater. He has produced one world champion, one junior world champion, two Olympic medalists, 23 U.S. diving champions, 12 NCAA champions, 16 NCAA runners-up, 54 Big Ten champions and 86 All-Americans. Panzano also has coached Ohio State and McDonald’s Diving to six national team titles. He has had divers on five of the last six Olympic Teams.