COLUMBUS, Ohio With a trio of Olympians on its roster, the Ohio State synchronized swimming team (18-1) wants to take advantage of that fact and secure its 25th U.S. Collegiate National title this weekend. It has been four long years since the Buckeyes captured the coveted title and they plan on dazzling the crowd at the Josh Davis Natatorium in the Blossom Athletic Center in San Antonio, Texas, March 26-28.

Schedule of Events
Thursday, March 26
8:55 a.m. Solo semifinal
11:55 a.m. Duet semifinal
3:55 p.m. Trio semifinal

Friday, March 27
7:35 a.m.  “D” Technical competition
9:35 a.m.  “C” Technical competition
11:10 a.m.  “B” Technical competition
12:55 p.m.  “A” Technical competition
3:35 p.m. Team semifinal

Saturday, March 28
8:30 a.m. Parade of Athletes
9:30 a.m. Trio final
10:50 a.m. Duet final
1:15 p.m. Solo final
2:45 p.m. Team final
5 p.m. Awards

Tickets to the 2009 U.S. Collegiate National Championships are $10. Fans can purchase all-event passes for $25. Tickets can be purchased by calling 210-710-2672 or at ticket will call at the main entrance of the Josh Davis Natatorium.

The Buckeyes have prepped all season for the collegiate nationals. They have competed against several up-and-coming synchronized swimming programs, such as Keuka and Canisius Colleges. The Scarlet and Gray also showcased its much-anticipated routines on three different occasions in its home pool at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion. They debut their 2009 routines at the OSU Tri-Meet Jan. 24 and compiled 94 points to outdistance Keuka (61) and Michigan (54.5).

In the third-annual Jessica Beck Memorial Meet Feb. 7, Ohio State bested four other squads in Lindenwood (73), Michigan (53.5), Miami (38) and Ball State (19.5) with 91 points.  

The Buckeyes wrapped up their home schedule hosting the North Regional Championships March 7. For the 19th time in program history, Ohio State secured the title with a season-high 103 points.

Ohio State faced stiff competition on the road as well, including Lindenwood twice. The Lions got the best of the Buckeyes in their first meeting of the season, beating them by one point (81-80) in a tri-meet that also featured Miami (35). However, the Scarlet and Gray was able to redeem themselves against Lindenwood in two-consecutive meets, first at the Jessica Beck Memorial Meet and then again in a tri-meet in Richmond, Va. With 90 points to their credit, Ohio State topped Lindenwood by 18 points and Richmond by 30. 

In a strategic move by the Ohio State coaching staff, the Scarlet and Gray teams split up Feb. 28 with the Scarlet squad traveling to Keuka, N.Y., and the Gray team making the trip to Southwest Ohio to Oxford. The Scarlet team posted a first-place finish with 98 points, while host Keuka tallied 90 points and Penn State rounded out the Top 3 with 70.5 points. In Oxford, the Gray team posted a 102-47.5 win over the RedHawks. 

In the Gray team’s 102-47.5 win against Miami in Oxford, Ohio, last month, the Buckeyes posted the team’s largest margin of victory of 54.5 points.

The second-highest margin of victory was a 33 point advantage in the OSU Tri-Meet in January against Keuka and Michigan. The Buckeyes compiled 94 points, while the Storm and Wolverines had 61 and 54.5 points, respectively.

As the season has progressed so have the Buckeyes and their scores. Both the team and small routines posted season highs in the North Regional championships March 7 in the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.

Overall, the 103 points tallied by Ohio State was a season high. The Scarlet team’s 97.333 proved to be a team season best as well. The trio of Meghan Kinney, Carmen Moraes and Caitlin Stewart performed a routine worthy of a 95.333, while the duo of Becky Kim and Kinney’s 95.333 was enough for a 2009 season best. In solo, Barbara Nesbitt executed a season-high 94.667.

Despite not winning the high point title at the 2008 Collegiate National Championships, Ohio State does have one point it can boast about that no other program can. In the 32-year history of collegiate nationals, the Buckeyes have won the team routine 26 times, including capturing the title in 2008. In fact, from 1986-1998, the Scarlet and Gray owned the team routine, winning for 13-consecutive seasons.

Head coach Linda Lichter-Witter entered the 2009 season with an impressive 510-17-1 (.966) career and Ohio State record. In 14-plus seasons as a head coach, all at Ohio State, Lichter-Witter has amassed a record of 528-18-1 (.966).

As the 2009 season begins to come to a close, Ohio State will say good bye to four of its own in seniors Jayme DeLancy, Becky Kim, Carmen Moraes and Kendra Sollars. Although the sport of synchronized swimming takes up a vast amount of the quartet’s time, they do have various interests as demonstrated below:

Jayme DeLancy
Being at Ohio State, I’ve learned … “How to push myself to the limits and get the results I want.”
Person/People I admire most is/are … “Holly Vargo-Brown and Liz Derr.”
Best Advice Received … “Be confident.”
Advice to younger teammates … “Take advantage of every day because life flies by quickly.”
I am most thankful for … “My parent’s support.”
Favorite midnight snack … “Smoothies”

Becky Kim
Favorite city I’ve performed in is … “Las Vegas.”
Being at Ohio State, I’ve learned … “To love people.”
Person/People I admire most is/are … “Laura Wilkensen, she’s an Olympic diver gold medalist.”
Greatest Athletic Moment … “At the 2006 Trophy Cup in Moscow, Russia, and winning the team combo event on Russia’s own turf.”
If I could switch places with anyone, it would be … “Someone in biblical times so I could see Jesus walk on water.”
Favorite Buckeye Tradition … “Our Buckeye circle with previous and current Buckeyes.”
Favorite place on campus … “The main oval on a bright, clear, blue sky afternoon.”

Carmen Moraes
Favorite city I’ve performed in is … “Rome, Italy.”
Person/People I admire most is/are … “My parents.”
Greatest Athletic Moment … “Winning team my junior year at collegiate nationals.”
I am most thankful for … “Coming to Ohio State.”
Favorite Quote … “Don’t count the days, make the days count.”
Favorite Buckeye Tradition … “The circle before competitions.”
Favorite place on campus … “My house”

Kendra Sollars
Earliest synchronized swimming memory … “Attempting a ballet leg at my first practice.”
Being at Ohio State, I’ve learned … “To be a Buckeye.”
Best Advice Received … “Never give up.”
Advice to younger teammates … “If you’re not sure you can do something, go for it anyway.”
Greatest Athletic Moment … “2008 Collegiate Nationals”
The thing I love most about synchronized swimming is … “My teammates and the intense competition.”
I am most thankful for … “The wonderful people in my life.”

The 2008 Scarlet squad of Michelle Benzie, Jayme DeLancy, Carmen Moraes, Barbara Nesbitt, Leah Pinette, Deborah Shim, Caitlin Stewart and Michelle Theriault pulled out all the stops, displaying its best routine of the season with a score of 98.500 to take the title of best collegiate team in the U.S. The Gray squad of Kaitlin Bolt, Julia Broadfoot, Liz Derr, Jackie Mundy, Brooke Paul, Hannah Shively, Emilie Siemer and Kendra Sollars also contributed a stellar performance, coming up just shy of Stanford with a score of 95.333 for third.

Overall, Stanford was the high-point team winner with 94 points, claiming its fourth-consecutive national title with Ohio State earning the runner-up spot with 87 points as hosts of the annual event in the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.

The Buckeyes also earned top marks in the solo, duet and trio categories. Soloist Nesbitt recorded a score of 94.833 to take the bronze medal in the category. In duet competition, the combination of Stewart and Theriault took fourth place with a score of 93.833. In the trio category, two Buckeye teams finished in the Top 3. Nesbitt, Stewart and Theriault came together to claim second place with a routine that earned marks of 95.000, while teammates Moraes, Pinette and Shim took fourth with a score of 93.167.

For their efforts throughout the 2008 U.S. Collegiate National Championships, Nesbitt and Pinette earned All-America honors. Moraes, Shim, Stewart and Theriault were named honorary All-Americans.

With the collegiate season wrapped up, members of the team will focus their attention on the U.S. Senior National championships April 30-May 2 in Palo Alto, Calif.