COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University Department of Athletics likes to promote its People, its Tradition and its Excellence. There is no better example of those three words in play at one time than this upcoming week with the men’s and women’s swimming programs: the largest contingent of Ohio State swimmers – 29 total from the men’s and women’s teams – will leave Columbus Sunday for Irvine, Calif., to compete at the 2010 ConocoPhillips U.S. National Championships.

The championships, August 3-7, are the big event of the summer of 2010 with Olympians and the best of USA swimming’s best competing. The swimmers are hoping to advance from this meet to compete in any number of upcoming events, including the 2010 Pan Pacific or Junior Pan Pacs championships, the 2010 Short Course World Championships or the 2011 World University Games.

Five Buckeyes will also be competing next week at the European Championships in Budapest, Hungary, and two Buckeyes – seniors Anita Beck and Samantha Cheverton – are currently competing in Victoria, British Columbia at the Canadian Senior Nationals. Cheverton, in fact, already has an outstanding swim to her credit, taking third in the 200 freestyle.

All told, 36 members of the men’s and women’s swimming teams are or will be competing at a national championship meet this week and next. While it is not unusual for Ohio State to have swimmers competing at such prestigious events, the large numbers of Buckeyes in action is testament to the rising competitive nature of each program and their respective student-athletes.

“It [the U.S. championships] is a big meet so you want to swim fast, but you also want to be a part of a great showing by the team,” senior Michael Hulme, from Bozeman, Mont., said. “Junior nationals will be held in Irvine the week after nationals. So high school swimmers will be at nationals and they want to see lots of swimmers from one team competing. They want to know that the school they choose to attend is full of swimmers who will be competing and working hard all year and not just during the NCAA championships season.”

The McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion, home to the 2010 Big Ten champion men’s team and a women’s team whose Top 5 finish at the most recent Big Tens was its highest finish in 13 years, has been a hotbed of activity this summer with swimmers preparing for these upcoming meets. Those competing next week include:

  • Eleven women’s swimmers at the ConocoPhillips U.S. National Championships: current Buckeyes Katelyn Brix, Kelsey Moran, Shannon Draves, Lauren Massey, Catherine Eitel, Angela Severn, Lisa Narum, Elisabeth Tavierne, Megan Detro, Emily Creran; and recently graduated Haley Mitchell.
  • Eighteen men’s swimmers at the U.S. National Championships: current Buckeyes Ben Bailey, Matthieu Baumann, Andrew Elliott, Lincoln Fahrbach, Justin Farra, Brent Hitchcock, Zach Holmes, Michael Hulme, Bobby Jenrow, Elliott Keefer, Jayson King, Austin Mudd, Tim Phillips, Stephen Sakaris and Alex Smit; incoming recruits David Somers and Dak Stone; and June Ohio State graduate Joel Elber.
  • Five men’s swimmers – Itai Chammah and Daniel Malnik (representing Israel), Niksa Roki (Croatia), George Markovic (Serbia) and Stefan Sigrist (Switzerland) will be competing in Budapest, Hungary Aug. 4-15 at the European Championships. Chammah will be a senior this season for the Buckeyes while the other four have exhausted their eligibility.

With so many Buckeyes in action and cheering each other on, the meets are bound to be fun, but that’s a secondary goal to swimming fast.   

“This competition is all about swimming fast and having fun,” senior Katelyn Brix, from Brentwood, Calif., said. “Some of the swimmers haven’t competed at a national championship event yet, so this is a chance to race against Olympians and great swimmers.

“Plus, it’s always nice to go to California.”

This week California is certainly the place you want to be if you are a U.S. swimmer. And the Buckeyes will be there…en masse.