Nov. 20, 2003

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COLUMBUS, Ohio– The Ohio State women’s swimming team will travel to Evanston, Ill. Friday to compete at the TYR Northwestern Invitational. Participating schools include Northwestern, Southern Illinois and Rice.

Ohio State was narrowly defeated by No. 16 Michigan 153.5-146.5 in a suspensful meet Nov. 14, with both teams exchaning the lead several times and the Buckeyes entering the final event ahead of the Wolverines.

With Michigan leading by three points going into the next to last event, Deanna Strunk took an early lead in the 400-yard individual medley and placed first with a season best time of 4:25.14. Liz Osterer and Stephanie Raezer took third and fourth, scoring a total of 14 points in the event to put the Buckeyes ahead 144.5-138.5. Head coach Jeanne Fleck immediately switched up her relay teams, spreading her talent in hopes of taking at least second and third place in the 400-yard freestyle relay to maintain the point lead.

Ohio State finished only three seconds behind Michigan to take third and fourth place, giving up the dual meet win by seven points.

Gulsah Gunenc took her third consecutive win in the 200-yard butterfly in a time of 2:03.26, setting a season’s best time. Freshman Julie Broms also continued her success with the Buckeyes, placing first in both the 1-meter dive with a score of 281.70 and the 3-meter dive with a score of 293.63, both NCAA zone diving qualifying marks. Broms has placed first in all but one of the diving events so far in the dual meet season. RYCHVALSKY SETS POOL RECORD
Breaking a pool record set by Michigan at the Mike Peppe Aquatic Center in 1994, Rebekah Rychvalsky won the 200-yard breaststroke with an NCAA B qualifying time of 2:18.79 against Michigan. This was Rychvalsky’s third consecutive first-place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke this season. Rychvalsky also won the 100-yard breaststroke in a time of 1:04.16.

At the first home meet Nov. 7, the squad earned its second and third win against Louisville, 171-62, and West Virginia, 169.5-65.5, sweeping all of the events. Nicole Maglich brought in two wins, making a time of 1:52.94 in the 200-yard freestyle and 4:59.55 in the 500-yard freestyle. Deanna Strunk also won two events, taking first-place in the 200-yard individual medley (2:09.09) and 200-yard backstroke (2:08.95).

The squad placed first, second and third in the 200-yard breaststroke, with Rebekah Rychvalsky placing first in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:21.14, followed closely by Stephanie Raezer in second place and Liz Osterer in third. This was the first time in head coach Jeanne Fleck’s tenure at Ohio State that the squad took first, second and third in an event.

Kylie Lancken won the 50-yard freestyle (24.78) and Katie Severson won the 100-yard freestyle (53.29), along with Stephanie Raezer setting an impressive season best in the 1,000-yard freestyle with a time of 10:11.54. Gulsah Gunenc also won the 200-yard butterfly, a streak she would continue against Michigan. The Buckeyes placed first in the 400-yard medley relay and 400-yard freestyle relay.

The Buckeyes also defeated Bowling Green 134-99 in the season opener, with Nicole Maglich placing first in the 500- and 1,000-yard freestyle and Ashley Barnes and Katie Severson taking the 50- and 100-yard freestyle. Kylie Lancken won both the 200-yard freestyle and 200-yard backstroke, with Gulsah Gunenc taking the 200-yard butterfly.

Freshman Julie Broms won the 1- and 3-meter dives at the West Virginia and Louisville meet, along with getting her first Buckeye win at the Bowling Green meet in the 1-meter dive. Anesa Beard also took her first Buckeye win at the Bowling Green meet, scoring 234.45 points in the 3-meter dive.

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.

OLYMPIC PROSPECTS 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.

Head coach Jeanne Fleck enters her fifth year with the Buckeyes, one garnered with 25 All-Big Ten selections and 41 OSU Scholar-Athletes. Fleck lost no Big Ten scorers last season and has recruited nationally and internationally ranked freshman to the team this season.

The Buckeyes play host to Cleveland State Nov. 25 at the Mike Peppe Aquatic Center at 5 p.m.