COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s swimming and diving team seeks to continue its season-long forward-progress movement this week when it competes at the 2010 Big Ten Conference Championships at Purdue University. The four-day meet begins Wednesday, Feb. 17 at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center and continues through Saturday, Feb. 20.
Ohio State coach Bill Dorenkott is most-optimistic as he leads his second Ohio State swimming team into the conference championships, an event his teams thrive in. Three times prior to taking over at Ohio State Dorenkott led Penn State to a Big Ten championship and nine of his 10 teams finished in the Top 4 of the final standings.
“I believe we will be good this week,” Dorenkott said. “We have had a good year and I am a believer that objects in motion stay in motion.”
Like a rolling stone that keeps rolling, the objects in motion Dorenkott refers to are his swimmers and the positive course they have been on throughout a terrific dual meet season. The team went 6-1 in dual meets, placed second of six teams in its own Ohio State Invitational, won the Elite Energy Pro-Am and climbed into the national polls midway through the season and stayed. The team is 28th entering the Big Ten championships.
(To access the Big Ten championship web site, featuring links to live stats, heat sheets, schedule of events, session results and more, click here.)
Keys to Success Dorenkott identified a number of reasons for the team’s strong season to date: a freshman class that was a Top 20 recruiting class and the No. 2 class in the Big Ten according to CollegeSwimming.com; a physically stronger team; more trust in the process of preparing for the championships season; terrific senior leadership; and better relays.
“This has been a good year in terms of the strength of our relays,” Dorenkott said. “They will be a focus at Big Tens.
“And overall this team is really engaged in the process of understanding what our expectations are and they don’t shy away from the expectations. Our upper-classmen have done a great job leading.”
Against the Big Ten Ohio State went 2-1 against the Big Ten in dual meets, including a program-noticing win over No. 16 Michigan Jan. 23. It was the first dual win over the Wolverines in 25 years and it featured 10 wins, including both the 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relays.
Returning Point Scorers The team returns six of the seven swimmers who scored points at the 2009 Big Ten championships last year. Senior Jill Lockhart (200 back and 200 & 400 IMs) and juniors Samantha Cheverton (500 free, 100 back and 200 back) and Katelyn Brix (200 breaststroke and 200 & 400 IMs) led the way with three points-producing individual events apiece. Seniors Megan Alexander (100 & 200 breaststroke) and Colleen Schweitzer (100 & 200 breaststroke), and junior Anita Beck (200 free and 200 fly) scored in two individual events each.
Three Finals Ohio State swimmers swam in three individual event finals at the Big Ten championships last year: Megan Alexander was seventh and eighth in the 100 and 200 breaststroke events, respectively; Samantha Cheverton was seventh in the 200 backstroke. The 800 freestyle relay was fourth.
Diving Points Experienced divers also return for Ohio State. Back this year after red-shirting 2009 are former NCAA (2008) and Big Ten (2006) 3-meter champion Chelsea Davis and two-time all-American Bianca Alvarez. Alvarez was second on the 3-meter springboard and third on 1-meter at the 2008 Big Ten championships. Junior Katie Bell was runner-up on the 10-meter at the 2009 Big Tens. Junior All-American Kristen Asman is red-shirting this season.
NCAA “B” Cuts Ohio State will be seeking to add to its eight NCAA “B” qualifying times already established and secure “A” times – individually or via relays – at the Big Ten meet. If the Buckeyes power to a relay “A” cut, those swimmers will have an opportunity to swim their “B” cut events at NCAAs. Buckeyes who have hit “B” times already include:
A Rich Big Ten History Ohio State has won five Big Ten championships: consecutively between 1982-86 under coach Jim Montrella. Ohio State also has won 78 Big Ten swimming, diving and relay titles. The breakdown:
Last Year Indiana won the 2009 Big Ten championship by 158 points over runner-up Minnesota with 823 points. Penn State was third (429 points) followed by Michigan (414) and Wisconsin (405). Ohio State was eighth with 236 points.
Head Coach Bill Dorenkott Bill Dorenkott is in his second season as coach of the Buckeyes after arriving on campus in July 2008. His first Ohio State team set 12 school records and 12 individuals scored points at the Big Ten championships. “Pride, passion and resolve was established in the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion,” Dorenkott said about his first season. This season will be his 12th as a women’s head coach in the Big Ten Conference. His teams have won three Big Ten titles: in 2002, 2005 and 2006. He also has an impressive dual meet record of 103-31.
Diving Coach Vince Panzano Vince Panzano is the dean of Ohio State head coaches. He is in his 32nd year as coach at his alma mater. He is a four-time NCAA Diving Coach of the Year and he has twice been awarded USA Diving’s “Mike Peppe Award” – named after the legendary Ohio State coach – as the national Coach of the Year. He has coached 12 NCAA champions in addition to his 23 U.S. national champions, nine Olympians, 79 All-Americans and 54 Big Ten Conference champions. This past August Panzano was awarded the Coach Award of Excellence from USA Diving.
Champion Assistants: Stefanie and Susan Four-time NCAA national champion and 24-time All-American swimmer Stefanie Williams is in her second year as Dorenkott’s No. 1 assistant coach and her fifth year as a Division I assistant coach. Williams, a 2003 graduate of the University of Georgia, helped the Bulldogs to three consecutive national championships. In her second year as a graduate assistant with the program is University of Wisconsin graduate Susan Johnson, a two-time Big Ten champion. She is pursuing her master’s degree in nursing at Ohio State.
For much, much more on the Buckeyes, including bio updates, season best times and other facts and good stuff, click on the attached pdf.