COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s swimming and diving team opened defense of its 2010 Big Ten Conference championship by finishing in second place in both of the opening session’s two relay events: the 200 medley relay and the 800 freestyle relay.
Similar to the opening night of the 2010 championships, the University of Michigan won each of the first two relays with the Men of the Scarlet and Gray finishing as runner-up.
And in each race Wednesday night, Ohio State set a new school record and qualified all of its swimmers for the NCAA championships one month from now at the University of Minnesota’s University Aquatic Center, site of this 2011 Big Ten championships.
“You can’t beat going faster than any relay has ever gone,” Ohio State coach Bill Wadley said. “It’s pretty sweet. And the most any team could qualify tonight for the NCAA championships is eight, and we did that, too.”
The 200 medley relay team of junior Andrew Elliott, senior Elliott Keefer, senior Quincy Lee and sophomore Jason Schnur opened the meet with a second-place finish in an Ohio State record time of 1:25.57. Michigan won in 1:25.39.
And in the evening’s final race, Ohio State held the lead in the 800 free relay before Michigan hit the wall first in 6:20.11 with Ohio State second in 6:21.10. This relay featured four underclassmen: sophomore Tim Phillips, junior Stephen Sakaris, junior Lincoln Fahrbach and sophomore Zach Holmes.
“Making these NCAA cuts on the first night takes a lot of stress off the guys,” Wadley said. “They can really enjoy this meet, race fast, have fun and not worry about NCAAs.
“We certainly would have liked to have won, but I have plenty of confidence in the guys. Our goal is to go fast and be better than we’ve been in the past.”
The meet continues Thursday with opportunities for the Buckeyes to go fast in the 200 free relay, 500 freestyle, 200 individual medley and 50 freestyle. The diving competition also gets under way with the 1-meter springboard event.
Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships
Day 1 Team Scores: 1. Michigan 80; 2. Ohio State 68; 3. Minnesota 60; 4. Iowa 58; 5. Penn State 55; 6. Purdue 48; 7. Iowa & Wisconsin 46; 9. Northwestern 38; 10. Michigan State 37.
Event Results: 200 medley relay – 1. Michigan, 1:25.39; 2. Ohio State (Elliott, Keefer, Lee, Schnur), 1:25.57; 800 freestyle relay – 1. Michigan, 6:20.11; 2. Ohio State (Phillips, Sakaris, Fahrbach, Holmes), 6:21.10.