Feb. 21, 2003


Columbus, OH – Ohio State divers Natalia Diea (Sr., Austin, Texas/University of Texas) and Melanie Johnson (Sr., Boca Raton, Fla./Olympic Heights) both took their second Top 10 finish of the conference meet as the women’s swimming and diving team (7-6 overall, 0-5 Big Ten) posted their strongest day so far at the 2003 championships. Diea finished fourth in the 3-meter dive (552.25), while Johnson finished sixth (504.85). The performances Friday continued the divers’ momentum established Thursday at the championships, where Johnson placed fourth in the 1-meter dive and Diea finished seventh for each of the seniors’ first Top 10 finish.

Diea led all Big Ten divers in the 3-meter competition after the semifinal round with a score of 513.85, however, Lissette Planken (561.25) and Nancy Underwood (564.60) of Iowa, as well as Sara Hildebrand of Indiana, who won the event, passed her in the final round to drop Diea into fourth. Hildebrand now has won both diving events so far at the 2003 championships.

Saturday, Diea will compete in her best event, the platform dive, where she has won three conference titles. In 1999 and 2000, while at Texas, she won the Big 12 platform title. She then transferred to Ohio State, where she won the Big Ten title in 2001.

In swimming, Deanna Strunk (Fr., West Lawn, Pa./Wilson) provided the third Top 10 finish for the Buckeyes on the day in the form of a 10th-place effort in the 400 individual medley. Strunk finished ninth in the preliminary competition, posting a lifetime best of 4:22.48. The time was .01 away from an eighth place finish, which would have placed her into the A-Final. She followed in the evening by resetting her personal best at 4:21.02. The finish, which was the third-best time in the 400 IM in Ohio State history, placed her 10th in the conference.

Stephanie Raezer (Jr., Newark, Del./Glasgow) also qualified for the consolation finals in the 400 IM, finishing ninth in the preliminary heats and posting a lifetime best time of 4:22.88. Raezer finished the evening heat at 4:23.87 to place 11th in the Big Ten.

Four more Buckeyes set personal bests on the afternoon. In the 100 butterfly, Ashley Barnes (So., Lexington, Ky./Dunbar) beat her previous best by more than two seconds, setting her new best at 1:00.70. Kristina Lipskis (So., St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles) and Kim Bojko (Sr., North Canton, Ohio/Hoover) both set career bests in the 200 freestyle. Lipskis shattered her previous lifetime best of 1:59.36, touching the wall at 1:55.80, while Bojko, in her final meet as a Buckeye, set a new lifetime best at 1:59.04, breaking the two-minute mark for the first time. Finally, Marianne Sharp (Fr., Louisville, Ky./Assumption) set a lifetime best in the 100 breaststroke, finishing in 1:08.59. The time ranks 19th on the all-time Ohio State list.

The team will resume competition at the meet at 11 a.m., tomorrow, with the final morning session of preliminary heats. The finals for tomorrow’s events will be held during the evening session at 7 p.m. Competitions Saturday include the 1,650 free, the 200 backstroke, the 100 free, the 200 breast, 200 fly, the 400 free relay and platform diving. The championship concludes tomorrow with these events and the crowning of the 2003 Big Ten Team Champions.

2003 Big Ten Championships – Event Summary Event Winner Time Top Buckeye Finisher(s) Place Best Time 200 Medley Relay Penn State 1:39.41 Treleaven, Raezer 11th 1:46.04 Strunk, Severson 800 Freestyle Relay Wisconsin 7:07.30 Raezer, Lancken 11th 7:36.48* Grantstein, Goodson 200 Freestyle Relay Wisconsin 1:30.36 Severson, Kolles, 11th 1:36.32 Routson, Barnes 500 Freestyle Carly Piper (UW) 4:41.58 Stephanie Raezer 14th 4:53.49*^ 200 IM Sara Johnson (Mich.)2:00.55 Deanna Strunk 21st 2:05.37* 50 Freestyle Jennifer Lyman (UW) 22.80 Katie Severson 20th 24.53#* 400 Medley Relay Penn State 3:36.39 Treleaven, Raezer, 10th 3:56.24* Lancken, Severson 400 IM B. Taflinger (Ind.) 4:12.43 Deanna Strunk 10th 4:21.02*#^ 100 Butterfly A. Biedermann (PSU) 53.54 Erin Greene 39th 59.21 200 Freestyle Carly Piper (UW) 1:46.05 Katie Severson 29th 1:53.03 100 Breaststroke Linsday Lange (PU) 1:00.47 Marianna Sharp 37th 1:08.59# 100 Backstroke Sarah Haupt (PSU) 53.44 Amanda Treleaven 30th 58.91 Event Winner Score Top Buckeye Finisher(s) Place Score 1-meter S. Hildebrand (Ind.) 318.50 Melanie Johnson 5th 282.10 3-meter S. Hildebrand (Ind.) 594.65 Natalia Diea 4th 552.25

*-Ohio State team season’s best #-Career Best ^-NCAA Consideration Time

2003 Big Ten Championships – Standings (Through 14 Events) 1. Indiana 400 2. Wisconsin 383 3. Penn State 340 4. Michigan 315 5. Purdue 268 6. Minnesota 262 7. Iowa 176 8. Northwestern 171 9. Ohio State 132 10. Illinois 110 11. Michigan State 100