COLUMBUS, Ohio – One has to look back 58 years to 1962 and 1963, the final two years of the Mike Peppe Dynasty, to find a better set of back-to-back NCAA Championships finishes for an Ohio State men’s swimming and diving team. But don’t look back. Living in this moment is too cool for this resurgent pool school.
Tonight at the Greensboro (N.C.) Aquatic Center, the culmination of effort about three years in the making came to a historic and deserved crescendo for coach Bill Dorenkott and staff as the Buckeyes placed seventh at the 2021 NCAA Championships.
This Ohio State team is only the third men’s team that Dorenkott has coached at an NCAA meet. His first team was 28th. His 2019 team cracked the Top 10 and finished ninth. And now his 2021 team has surpassed that with the highest team finish in 56 years, or since the 1965 team placed fifth.
The historical significance of the moment is major, even for a program that boasts 11 national championships:
And for some current cachet, how’s this: three programs this year were among the top seven schools nationally at the men’s and women’s NCAA Championships: Texas, Cal and Ohio State.
“Like I said after the women’s NCAAs, this is all about the quality of individuals we have in this program,” Dorenkott said. “Justin Sochor runs an outstanding diving program. Our assistant coaches are all excellent coaches and even better people. And our student-athletes come to Ohio State wanting to get better and willing to put the work in to get better.
“We are seeing the results of that effort within a culture of pride, success and respect for core values.”
Ohio State was 11th in the team standings entering this final day of competition, but then took advantage of its Saturday evening scoring opportunities.
The championships closed with the 400 freestyle relay. Ohio State’s team of Hunter Armstrong, Sem Andreis, Justin Fleagle and Paul DeLakis finished 12th in 2:49.32.
It’s been a strange, unprecedented year. But looking back certainly reinforces the Ohio State program’s surge on the national scene. Two consecutive Top 10 finishes at the NCAA Championships for the men. A best-ever, seventh-place finish this season for the women. Two consecutive Big Ten championships for the women.
History lessons can be fun. The prospects for future finals are more fun!
Final Team Standings – Top 8
2021 NCAA Championships
Sem Andreis – 200 Medley Relay, *400 Free Relay
Hunter Armstrong – *800 Free Relay, *100 Back, 200 Medley Relay, *400 Free Relay
Joey Canova – *1-Meter, *3-Meter
Charlie Clark – 1,650 Free
Paul Delakis – *800 Free Relay; *200 IM, 200 Free, *200 Breast, *400 Free Relay
Jake Fielding – Platform
Justin Fleagle – 200 Medley Relay, *400 Free Relay
Jason Mathews – *100 Breast, *200 Breast
Hudson McDaniel – *100 Breast, 200 Medley Relay
Shaw Satterfield – *800 Free Relay
Jacob Siler – 3-Meter, Platform
Thomas Watkins – *800 Free Relay
Lyle Yost – 1-Meter, *3-Meter, Platform
*Honorable mention All-America