Nov. 6, 2003

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COLUMBUS, Ohio– The Ohio State women’s swimming and diving team plays host to the West Virginia Mountaineers and Louisville Cardinals Friday at the Mike Peppe Aquatics Center. The Buckeyes return to the pool after a 134-99 victory at Bowling Green Oct. 31.

With a strong win, the Buckeyes soundly defeated Bowling Green at their first meet of the season.

Sophomore Nicole Maglich won both the 500- and 1,000-yard freestyle and junior Kylie Lancken won the200-yard freestyle. Senior Katie Severson took the 100-yard freestyle and sophomore Ashley Barnes claimed the 50-yard freestylet. Lancken also took the 200-yard butterfly while sophomore Deanna Strunk won the 400-yard individual medley.

Bowling Green’s four event victories came with Ohio State competing in exhibition, meaning the Buckeyes did not pick up additional points while points earned by the Falcons counted toward their score. In those events, freshman Rebekah Rychvalsky led the 200-yard breaststroke, along with Ohio State finishing with good times in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The diving squad made a strong showing from the freshmen, with freshmen Julie Broms and Anesa Beard performing well in the 1- and 3-meter dives.

“We are really pleased with how the team swam at the meet,” Jeanne Fleck, women’s swimming head coach, said. “The freshman did a great job and the entire team showed it is ahead of where we were last year. It is a great way to start the season.”

The West Virginia Mountaineers start their season with a 2-3 record, with their only wins coming against Wayne State Oct. 25 and Seton Hall Nov. 2. Senior captain Lee Ann Johnston returns as the Mountaineers top backstroker, holding a career best time of 24.42 in the 50-yard at the Big East meet. Sophomores Ashley Bisset and Jessica Banner also returned with strong finishes in the freestyle events, with Bisset finishing first in the 1,000-yard freestyle at the Rutgers meet. Sophomores Olga Tzinker and Megan Carlson have made strong finishes this year in the breaststroke and individual medley. Steven Phillips is the interim head swimming coach for West Virginia, previously holding the position of assistant coach for three seasons.

Swimming head coach Arthur Albiero enters his first year with the Cardinals, compiling a record of 1-7 so far in the season. Newcomer freshman Heather Lang already has taken several first-place finishes in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke, as well as setting a pool record in the 200-yard individual medley at the Xavier meet last week. Freshman Emily Rabe and sophomore Lauren Bullock have had strong finishes in the freestyle events, with freshman Mandy Lynn also contributing in the 200-yard breaststroke event.

At last season’s November match-up, Ohio State defeated host West Virginia 122-112 and Louisville 149-85. Nicole Maglich led the team in wins, taking the 500- and 1,000-yard freestyle ,200-yard butterfly and competing in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Deanna Strunk won both the 200-yard backstroke and 400-yard individual medley, along with Katie Severson winning the 50-yard freestyle with an impressive time of 24.80. Stephanie Raezer recorded a time of 2:24.68 in the 200-yard breaststroke at the meet, one which she got down to 2:23.48 a week later.

With a wealth of experience from upperclassmen and the potential of both nationally and internationally ranked freshman, the Ohio State women’s swimming and diving team has high ambitions for the 2003-04 season.

“Our team has really taken a step forward this year,” Jeanne Fleck, head women’s swimming coach, said. “We’ve made some changes to the program to help the team achieve its goals.”

Benefiting from Fleck’s five years with the Buckeyes, the squad will be working with a new assistant and volunteer assistant coach this year.

“The coaching staff has changed, letting us analyze the program and change it up a bit.

“We’re making it so the student-athletes have to be a little more accountable for every practice and where they are,” Fleck said. “With the type of practices we have, the student-athletes will know every time they had a good practice.”

Fleck would like to see lifetime bests achieved at 90 percent this year, along with concentrating on getting wins during the Big Ten dual meet season. Last year, the Buckeyes finished with an overall dual meet record of 7-6 and a ninth place finish at the Big Ten championships.

“We are looking to move up in the Big Ten with a strong team and really work to our potential.”

With 19 letterwinners returning, Ohio State returns to the pool with all of its Big Ten point-scorers from last year.

Returning to the squad as one of the team captains is senior Stephanie Raezer, who was named most valuable swimmer last season. Raezer scored 12 first-place and 14 second-place finishes at dual meets last year, along with leading the team at the Big Ten championships, finishing 11th in the 1,650 freestyle and 14th in the 500 freestyle.

Seniors Katie Severson and Lindsay Goodson also are captains and are expected to lead and energize the team. Goodson was part of two records set in both the in both the 400- and 800-yard freestyle relays last year and was named most inspirational swimmer. Severson set five personal records.

Junior Kylie Lancken will lead the team in both the 100- and 200-yard freestyle this season, hoping to advance farther at the Big Tens after competing with an illness last season at the event.

Prior to being redshirted, sophomore Nicole Maglich was the top distance swimmer on the team, along with setting a personal record last season in the 1,000 freestyle with a time of 10:12.01.

“Maglich was one of our outstanding swimmers in dual meets last year first quarter,” Fleck said. “She’s back and fully prepared to add in the freestyle events.”

Sophomore Meaghan Mahoney is returning after a medical red-shirt and sophomore Kim Reinhardt is returning after a mid-season injury last year. Both look to compliment Severson throughout the season in the freestyle.

The freestyle events also are backed up with seasoned talent, including juniors Ashley Barnes, Kearstin Hetrick, Katie Kolles, Ashley Routson, Kristina Lipskis and Abby Grantstein. Sophomore Morgan O’Connor and freshmen Liz Osterer and Erin Greene are also all expected to contribute in the freestyle events.

Australian freshman Rebekah Rychvalsky has converted times faster than some team records and as fast as NCAA qualifying times, Fleck said. Possibly one of the best freshmen ever brought to Ohio State for the breaststroke, Rychvalsky placed fifth at Australian Nationals and is returning to Australia in the spring for the Australian Olympic trials.

Raezer will add depth to the event after setting two season’s best times in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke last season, along with Osterer and freshmen Kristan Hopkins and Emily Rosendall backing her up.

Finishing 12th in the 200-yard butterfly last year at the conference championships and posting 19 first-place finishes at dual meets, sophomore Deanna Strunk returns for her second year with the team. Strunk also was named the team’s rookie of the year.

Swapping between individual medley and butterfly, freshman Gulseh Gunenc holds the Turkish national record in the 100- and 200-meter butterfly and is a member of the 2004 Turkish Olympic National team.

“She’s our No. 1 flyer coming in and we expect her to earn some points at the Big Tens,” Fleck said.

Sophomore Erin Green and Lancken are also expected to contribute, along with incoming freshman Steph Fennell. Freshman Allison Bertke and Bojke will also participate in the event.

Junior Katie Kolles will lead the relays in what will be her first year fully recovered from a back injury. Kolles won the 100-yard backstroke in the dual meet vs. Miami (Ohio) last season.

Fennell, a silver medallist in the 100-meter backstroke at the Eastern Canada Cup and a semi-finalist at the Canadian Summer nationals, will bring competitive experience to the event, with Strunk adding speed and Lancken backing them up.

Raezer finished 11th in the 400-yard individual medley at the Big Ten championships last season, with Strunk finishing 10th, both trying to add their experience in the IM’s. Both Raezer and Strunk are U.S. National qualifiers in the individual medley as well. Osterer, along with Gunenc, a national record holder in the 100 and 200-meter individual medley, and Bertke will also guide the event.

With his top diver taking home the NCAA platform diving championship for the first time in school history last year, head diving coach Vince Panzano looks to move into his 26th year at Ohio State building on that success.

Gone, however, is Natalia Diea, who claimed that national title for the Buckeyes. Sophomore Rachael Pichacz will lead the Buckeyes in the diving well as the only returning diver. Pichacz took 37th in the 1-meter and 35th in the 3-meter at the Big Tens last year, along with several high place finishes at the dual meets.

Freshman Ashley Bourland comes in as a two-year state record holder and three-time state champion, along with freshman Anesa Beard, an all-conference, county, mid-state, sectional and regional champion. Freshman Julie Broms, a second-team All-American, and freshman Amber Simmons, a twice-ranked diver at the Winter Nationals, also will make up the squad.

The Buckeyes have several student-athletes preparing for the Olympic trials in the spring, along with all the swimmers who will be trying to reach qualifying standards during the year.

Gunenc has already qualified for the Turkish National Team. Both Australian swimmers Lancken and Rychvalsky will participate in the Australian Olympic trials in April, along with Canadian freshmen swimmers Fennell and Osterer in the Canadian Olympic trials in July.

“Strunk and Raezer have the opportunity to make the Olympic trial cut this season for the U.S. team,” Fleck said. “Its fun to have other things to look forward to during the season and maybe send a few athletes to the Olympics. We want to represent the country and the world.”

The Olympic games will be held in Athens, Greece, Aug. 13-19, 2004.

The Buckeyes play host to Michigan Nov. 14 at 5 p.m. at the Mike Peppe Aquatic Center in their first dual meet in the Big Ten.