Ohio State debuts its team routine this weekend

COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State synchronized swimming team is hosting its third annual Jessica Beck Memorial Meet Saturday at the Bill and Mae McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion on the campus of The Ohio State University. There is no admission charge for the meet.

The Buckeyes welcome Ball State, Lindenwood, Michigan and Miami (Ohio) to Columbus. At the meet, Ohio State’s Scarlet team will compete with its team routine for the first time this season, in addition to swimming solo, duet and trio routines.

“This meet always feels like our first home meet because it is the first time we swim our team routine,” Linda Lichter-Witter, Ohio State head coach, said. “We have a lot of amazing athletes this year but we had a few injuries so we are a little behind schedule.

In its third year, the meet Saturday is in honor of Ohio State synchronized swimmer Jessica Catherine Beck who past away suddenly Sept. 15, 2005 from natural causes. Beck, who was 21 and a native of Richmond, Va., would have competed in her senior season in 2006.

“This is always a hard meet for us because we remember Jessica who was an amazing girl,” Lichter-Witter said.

Despite knowing her for only a short time, Ohio State senior Jayme DeLancy passes on Beck’s legacy as a student-athlete to her younger teammates.

“Everyone remembers Jessica for her smile because she was the perfect student-athlete,” DeLancy said.

Beck began her career as a Buckeye in 2003 and made an immediate impact, helping the squad go 33-1 en route to a national championship title. In her second year at Ohio State, Beck was a member of a Buckeye B’ team that placed second at the North Regional championships and fourth at the Collegiate National championships.

As a junior, she played an integral role in helping the OSU B’ team regain the bronze medal at the U.S. Collegiate National championships with her flawless execution of the vertical team lift.

Beck also excelled in the classroom, garnering Academic All-America accolades for three-consecutive years. Majoring in communication Beck was a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, three-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete award winner and was named to the Dean’s List.
In 17 years of hosting the OSU Tri-Meet, the Scarlet and Gray have finished first each time. This season, Ohio State won the contest, posting 94 points over Keuka’s 61 and Michigan’s 54.5.

Senior Barbara Nesbitt stole the show in the solo routine, recording an 89.333 to finish first. In the win, the Buckeyes claimed the top two spots in both the duet and trio. Meghan Kinney and Jillian Penner won the duet competition with a mark of 90.333 followed by teammates Jayme DeLancy and Deborah Shim in second with a score of 88.500.

Kinney, Carmen Moraes and Caitlin Stewart garnered a score of 91.000 to take first in trio. Nesbitt, Shim and Michelle Theriault finished just behind with a 90.17 second-place finish.

The Gray team scored 80 points to place second at the Lindenwood Synchronized Swimming Invitational in St. Charles, Mo., Jan. 31. The Buckeyes finished just one point behind the invite’s host, Lindenwood, who won with 81 points while Miami (Ohio) placed third with 35 points.

Ohio State’s Gray squad, consisting of Liz Derr, Monica Finnigan, Rita Gillan, Katherine Green, Jackie Mundy, Emilie Siemer, Kendra Sollars, Lauren Robinson and Hannah Shively was victorious in the team competition, claiming a first-place mark of 91.000. Lindenwood finished the team portion in second (89.833). Miami’s score of 74.000 put them in third.

The Buckeyes also placed first in the trio competition. The team of Gillan, Mundy and Sollars won the top spot with a mark of 84.000.

In the duet competition, the Scarlet and Gray posted two Top 3 finishes. Robinson, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Shively, a product of Westerville, Ohio, paired for a second-place tally of 86.167 while Derr of St. Paul, Minn., and Finnigan of Cincinnati, Ohio, rounded out the Top 3 with an 85.333.

Ohio State received two more Top 3 marks in the solo portion of the contest. Green and Robinson took second (87.833) and third (84.167), respectively, while Lindenwood’s Devah Leenheer won with a score of 88.000.

The Buckeyes keep busy, swimming twice next weekend. Ohio State first competes at Richmond Feb. 14 before making a short trip to William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., for a meet Feb. 15.