COLUMBUS, Ohio – As was the case Thursday night when just 19 points separated the top three teams in this terrifically competitive 2021 Big Ten Conference men’s swimming and diving championships, the same held true Friday: just 36.5 points separate Indiana, Michigan and Ohio State heading into the final electric day of swimming Saturday at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.
Here’s how competitive this meet has been: Ohio State led after Day 1 and Day 2. Michigan led second-place Indiana and third-place Ohio State last night. Tonight, after Ohio State retook the lead after event 12 (100 breaststroke), Indiana moved into first after the 200 fly. The Friday night lead then came down to the final event of the night, the 200 freestyle relay.
Michigan swam in heat one and went 1:16.60. Indiana and Ohio State were in heat 3 in lanes 5 and 7, respectively. The Hoosiers touched the wall first in 1:16.24 with Purdue second in 1:16.50 and Ohio State third in 1:16.57. All four times, plus that of Penn State, were under the NCAA A qualifying standard.
Team scores Friday night show Indiana in first with 1,036.5 points followed by Michigan (1,010) and then Ohio State (1,000). Saturday night is going to be all right!
Individually Friday night, the Buckeyes got a runner-up finish from Hunter Armstrong in the 100 backstroke with a personal-best time of 45.50. Five more Buckeyes scored in the race, with Colin McDermott (ninth in a personal-best 46.19) and Thomas Watkins (12th), RJ Kondalski (13th) and Justin Fleagle (15th) all scoring in the consolation final. Evan Stapp also scored from the C final.
Those six point scorers, combined with four in the 100 breaststroke, enabled Ohio State to regain the lead momentarily. Jason Mathews, who set a personal best in the prelims of with a 100 breaststroke NCAA A qualifying time of 51.30, went 51.57 in the championship final to take fourth with Hudson McDaniel also swimming to an A standard of 51.59 to take fifth. Conor Isings and Evan McFadden were 10th and 13th.
Three Hoosier finalists in the final individual event of the evening – the 200 butterfly – then lifted Indiana into first heading into the relay … by 14.5 points over Michigan and 25.5 points over Ohio State. First, though, Jean-Pierre Khouzam won the consolation final of the 200 fly in 1:45.42 and Chachi Gustafson scored from the C final.
So this championship will come down to a Saturday night that will feature five swims: the 100 freestyle, 1,650 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 200 breaststroke and the 400 freestyle relay. Prelims start at 11 a.m. Saturday morning with finals set for 6:30 p.m.
Big Ten Conference Championships
Columbus, Ohio – McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion
Friday Final Results
Event winners and all Ohio State point scorers listed.
100 backstroke – 1. Fantoni (IU), 45.44 B; 2. Armstrong, 45.50 B; 9. McDermott, 46.19 B; 12. Watkins, 46.91 B; 13. Kondalski, 46.97; 15. Fleagle, 47.45 B; 22. Stapp, 47.80.
100 breaststroke – 1. McHugh, (Minn.), 50.59 A; 4. Mathews, 51.57 A; 5. McDaniel, 51.59 A; 10. Isings, 52.71; 13. McFadden, 53.18.
200 butterfly – 1. Burns (IU), 1:39.22 A; 9. Khouzam, 1:45.42 B; 21. Gustafson, 1:45.11.
200 freestyle relay – 1. Indiana, 1;16.24 A; 2. Purdue, 1:16.50 A; 3. Ohio State (Armstrong, Andreis, McDermott, Fleagle), 1:16.57.
Team Scores – Day 4 (includes all diving)