COLUMBUS, Ohio –Ohio State swimming and diving capped its finest season in nearly 50 years Sunday at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion – the center of the college swimming universe this week – with 136.5 points and a ninth-place finish at the 2010 NCAA championships.

A Big Ten championship and a Top 10 NCAA finish have been the team’s goals all season long. One month ago the team succeeded in the first quest, winning its first Big Ten title in 54 years behind a remarkable team effort that saw all 25 members of the championship roster scoring points with four individual Big Ten champions plus a relay crown.

Sunday the team’s spirited efforts kept the Buckeyes in the Top 10 – where they have been throughout the meet – to ensure a successful realization of its second goal. Highlights of the day included 10 more All-America performances that increased to 29 the number of All-Americans at this championship.

“This is clearly the best team Ohio State has put in the pool since 1962 (the year of the school’s last NCAA championship),” Ohio State swimming coach Bill Wadley said. “And this is probably the deepest team, in terms of depth, of any Ohio State team. I am totally satisfied with everything this team gave athletically, academically and competitively.”

Individually, senior Wes Wieser, who is coached by Vince Panzano, capped his diving career by earning All-America honors on the 10-meter platform event. He finished fifth with 442.40 points and in the process picked up his third All-America honor of the meet and the fifth of his career.

A trio of 1650 freestyle swimmers all scored to earn All-America honors. Senior Stefan Sigrist was fifth in 14:51.27. Sophomore Brent Hitchcock was 15th with a personal best time of 14:59.40. And senior George Markovic crushed his lifetime best by more than seven seconds and finished 16th in 15:01.92.

Elliott Keefer swam to 12th place in the 200 breaststroke in 1:54.90 to earn honorable mention All-America accolades.

And the 400 freestyle relay team of Joel Elber, Andrew Olson, Lincoln Fahrbach and Tim Phillips picked up honorable mention distinction with a 15th-place finish in 2:55.15.

“It’s truly been a fun weekend,” Wadley said. “We always want more, just like everyone but we’ll take what we can get. If you shoot for an A and you get an A-minus, there’s not too much wrong with that.”

There were other shining moments in the pool Sunday. Sophomore Markus Sievers shaved two seconds off his personal best in the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:44.49. He finished 31st.

Junior Quincy Lee set the school record in the 200 butterfly with a 21st-place time of 1:45.19.

And seniors Sam Pelkey and Daniel Malnik closed their careers with 29th- and 34th-place finishes in the 200 breaststroke.

The championships experienced a one-day delay to the start of the meet because of a gastrointestinal bug that sidelined 18 athletes, but once they got going on Friday, nothing could detract from the pride of hosting and the sense of accomplishment that the school record 18 competitors for Ohio State felt at this meet. Ten of those individuals were seniors competing for their last time as Buckeyes.   

“This is a great sendoff for our seniors to host this national championship,” Wadley said. “They were competing at home in front of friends and family. It couldn’t be any more perfect.”

16 Combine for 29 Honors

Sixteen of the 18 Ohio State competitors earned another school-record total 29 All-America or honorable mention All-America honors at the meet. The list (All-American first through eighth; honorable mention AA ninth through 16th):

  • George Markovic – 500 freestyle (5th); 800 free relay (8th); 1650 freestyle (16th)
  • Stefan Sigrist – 1560 freestyle (5th)
  • Wes Wieser – 10-meter (fifth); 1-meter diving (11th); 3-meter diving (14th)
  • Ryan Jefferson – 3-meter diving (13th)
  • Stefan Sigrist – 500 freestyle (9th)
  • Tim Phillips – 100 butterfly (12th); 400 medley relay (9th); 800 free relay (8th); 400 free relay (15th)
  • Sam Pelkey – 100 breaststroke (15th)
  • Elliott Keefer – 200 breaststroke (12th); 400 medley relay (9th); 200 medley relay (10th)
  • Brent Hitchcock – 1650 freestyle (15th)
  • Andrew Elliott – 400 medley relay (9th)
  • Joel Elber – 400 medley relay (9th); 200 medley relay (10th); 400 free relay (15th)
  • Andrew Olson – 800 free relay (8th); 400 free relay (15th)
  • Stephen Sakaris – 800 free relay (8th)
  • Andrew Elliott – 200 medley relay (10th)
  • Andrew Bretscher – 200 medley relay (10th)
  • Lincoln Fahrbach – 400 free relay (15th)

School Records

Seven school records – there may be more but this is what one busy researcher tracked – the were set at this NCAA championships: 200 free: George Markovic, 1:34.85; 500 free: Markovic, 4:14.41; 100 butterfly: Tim Phillips, 46.47; 200 butterfly: Quincy Lee, 1:45.19; 400 medley relay: Andrew Elliott, Elliott Keefer, Tim Phillips and Joel Elber, 3:08.25; 200 medley relay: Elliott, Keefer, Andrew Bretscher and Elber, 1:26.27; 800 free relay: Markovic, Andrew Olson, Stephen Sakaris and Phillips, 6:22.73.  

Final Notes from the Championships:

  • The ninth-place finish was the best for Ohio State in 36 years, or since the team finished eighth in 1974.
  • Texas coach Eddie Reese won his 10th men’s national championship, moving him to within one of Mike Peppe’s record total of 11 men’s team titles.
  • Peppe’s last team title came in 1962 in Columbus, defeating a strong Southern California team that was expected to win the crown. The coach of that USC team – Peter Daland – was watching this meet from the stands.
  • Buckeye seniors competing at this meet: Andrew Bretscher, Joel Elber, Ryan Jefferson, Daniel Malnik, George Markovic, Andrew Olson, Sam Pelkey, Burkley Showe, Stefan Sigrist and Wes Wieser.

2010 NCAA Championships

McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion; Columbus, Ohio

Final Team Scores: 1. Texas 500; 2. California 469.5; 2. 3. Arizona 387; 4. Stanford 369; 5. Florida 364; 6. Auburn 277.5; 7. Michigan 204; 8. Georgia 143; 9. Ohio State 136.5; 10. Virginia 123.

Results: 1650 freestyle 1. Chad Tourette, Stanford (14:42.87); Also: 5. Stefan Sigrist, Ohio State (14:51.27); 15. Brent Hitchcock, Ohio State (14:59.40); 16. George Markovic, Ohio State (15:01.92). 200 backstroke 1. Cory Chitwood, Arizona (1:39.29); Also: 31. Markus Sievers (1:44.49). 100 freestyle – 1. Adrian Nathan, California (41.50). 200 breaststroke – 1. Clark Burckle, Arizona (1:53.19); Also: 12. Elliott Keefer, Ohio State (1:54.90); 29. Sam Pelkey, Ohio State (1:57.84); 34. Daniel Malnik, Ohio State (1:59.12). 200 butterfly – 1. Shaune Fraser, Florida (1:41.45); Also: 21. Quincy Lee, Ohio State (53.73). 10-meter platform – 1. Nick McCrory, Duke (534.00); Also: 5. Wes Wieser, Ohio State (442.40). 400 freestyle relay 1. California, Moore, Daniels, Shields, Adrian (2:48.78); Also: 15. Elber, Olson, Fahrbach, Phillips, Ohio State (2:55.15).