COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State wasn’t ready to let go of its 2010 Big Ten championship without at least making the 2011 champion earn it. Saturday on the final day of the 2011 Big Ten championships at the University of Minnesota’s University Aquatics Center, the Buckeyes outscored every team and roared into second place for a time, but finished in third with a final total of 593 points.
The University of Michigan and Indiana University had built up enough points entering Saturday to withstand the defending champions charge. Michigan won the 2011 championship with 678 points. Indiana, which had a 54-point lead over Ohio State entering Saturday, was second with 604 points with Minnesota fourth (505.5) and Purdue in fifth (343.5).
The third-place finish marked the third consecutive year that Ohio State has finished either first, second or third, and it marked the sixth consecutive Top 5 finish for swimming coach Bill Wadley and diving coach Vince Panzano’s team.
The evening started off with the final heat of the 1,650 freestyle and when completed three Buckeyes had scored led by freshman Ty Perkins’ sixth-place time of 15:09.48. Brent Hitchcock was eighth and freshman Alex Miller, competing in his first Big Ten championships, was 14th.
Ohio State then had more finalists than Michigan and Indiana combined in Saturdays other final races, and in three events the team had three points-scorers. All that Buckeye company served the team well: Ohio State scored 214 points on Saturday, 46 more than the next closest team, Indiana.
Andrew Elliott, perhaps fueled by taking second in the 100 backstroke Friday night after winning the event in 2010, captured the Big Ten championship in the 200 backstroke Saturday with a school record swim of 1:41.69. Junior Markus Sievers, after swimming the third-fastest 200 time in school history with a 1:43.66 effort in prelims, went even faster in the finals and was third in 1:43.56. And Phil Seleskie, in possibly his final collegiate competition and in front of friends and family in his home state, capped a fine championship meet by scoring in his third individual event with a 16th-place finish.
Tim Phillips, swimming in his third final of this championship, led a trio of scorers in the 100 freestyle with a second-place performance. His time of 43.30 is second fastest all-time at Ohio State. Jason Schnur continued to make waves in his first Big Ten championships, taking seventh in the 100 after previously finishing in third in the 50 free. And Lincoln Fahrbach added a fifth scoring event to his 2011 meet by finishing in 10th.
Elliott Keefer capped a terrific Big Ten career – he is one of seven Buckeyes who will swim at the NCAA championships next month, which Minnesota will also host – with a runner-up finish in the 200 breaststroke. The 2010 100 breaststroke champion and 2010 200 runner-up was a four-time finalist and a six-time scorer in the two breaststroke events at Big Tens.
Senior Justin Farra closed his best Big Ten meet with an eighth-place finish in the 200 breaststroke after previously taking fifth in the 200 IM and ninth in the 100 breaststroke.
Ohio State had scored enough points at this point to overtake Indiana for second, 487-486, with Michigan in front with 548 points.
Ohio State also had three scorers in the 200 butterfly. Quincy Lee, after breaking his own school record in prelims with a 1:44.25 time, went even faster in the finals with a 1:43.57 swim to finish third for a personal best Big Ten finish. Luke Stirton, a finalist in this event last year as a freshman, took seventh in 1:45.49. And senior Bobby Jenrow, swimming in perhaps his final collegiate meet, scored for the first time at a Big Ten championships by finishing in 15th in 1:47.50. This coming after he joined the Top 5 all-time swimmers in school history in the event with a time of 1:46.49 in the preliminaries.
At this point, Ohio State had a 21-point margin over Indiana for second-place, but it was a lead that wouldn’t hold as Ohio State has just one10-meter platform diver – freshman Shane Miszkiel – while Indiana loaded up with seven platform point scorers. Miszkiel beat four of the Hoosiers and placed ninth for nine points while IU totaled 45 points to retake second place.
The 400 free relay team then closed out the meet with a championship performance. Phillips, Schnur, Zach Holmes and Fahrback won the title in a school record time of 2:52.00.
Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships
Final Team Scores: 1. Michigan 678; 2. Indiana 604; 3. Ohio State 593; 4. Minnesota 505.5; 5. Purdue 343.5; 6. Penn State 250.5; 7. Iowa 228.5; 8. Wisconsin 224; 9. Northwestern 212.5; 10. Michigan State 180.5.
Event Results: 1.Ryan, Michigan (14:50.20); 6. Perkins, Ohio State (15:09.48); 8. Hitchcock, Ohio State (15:10.98); 14. Miller, Ohio State (15:24.06); 200 backstroke – 1.Elliott, Ohio State (1:41.69); 3. Sievers, Ohio State (1:43.56); 16. Seleskie, Ohio State (1:47.19); 100 freestyle – 1. Richards, Minnesota (43.20); 2. Phillips, Ohio State (43.30); 7. Schnur, Ohio State (43.65); 10. Fahrbach, Ohio State (43.77); 200 breaststroke – 1. Miller, Indiana (1:54.16); 2. Keefer, Ohio State (1:54.62); 8. Farra, Ohio State (1:59.33); 200 butterfly – 1. Madwed, Michigan (1:41.70); 3. Lee, Ohio State (1:43.57); 7. Stirton, Ohio State (1:45.49); 15. Jenrow, Ohio State (1:47.50); 10-meter platform – 1.Boudia, Purdue, (557.90); 9. Miszkiel, Ohio State (345.50); 400 freestyle relay – 1. Ohio State, Phillips, Schnur, Holmes, Fahrbach (2:52.00).