COLUMBUS, Ohio The Ohio State women’s swimming and diving team opened the first day of the Big Ten Conference championships with three school record-breaking performances at Canham Natatorium on the campus of the University of Michigan.

The 200-yard medley relay team opened the evening with an 11th-place finish in an OSU record time of 1:43.48. The squad was comprised of junior Jill Lockhart, freshman Catherine Eitel, senior Courtney Brayman and junior Haley Mitchell.

And in the only other event of this, the first night of competition at the Big Ten championships, the 800 freestyle relay team of sophomore Samantha Cheverton, freshman Lisa Narum, senior Griet Buelens and sophomore Anita Beck finished in fourth place with an Ohio State record time of 7:01.65. The record smashed the old mark, set in 2006, by more than 18 seconds.

Cheverton’s leadoff leg of 1:46.72 in the 800 free relay was also a new Ohio State 200 freestyle record, topping a 12-year-old record set by Kim Black in 1997.

“It was very exciting to see two relay records tonight,” first-year Ohio State coach Bill Dorenkott said. “The 800 free relay is a legitimate big-time swim. It will put us among the top 10 relay teams in the country after this weekend and most likely will be on the bubble for an NCAA invite.

“Samantha’s leadoff leg in the 800 free relay was a special race. All-in-all, I think we’ve had a really good start to the championships and we hope to get better each day. We’re looking at this championships as an opportunity to learn, improve and gain respect in the league. I’m proud of the Buckeye relays getting us off to a good start.”

Minnesota has the early lead after two events with 72 points. Indiana (68), Michigan (60) Penn State (58) the school Dorenkott led to three Big Ten titles prior to taking over at Ohio State and Northwestern (52) are the top five teams so far. Ohio State sits in eighth place with 42 points.

The competition continues Thursday and will conclude Saturday evening.

Ohio State Swimming and Diving
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
2009 Big Ten Championships
Canham Natatorium; Ann Arbor, Mich.

Team Scores: 1. Minnesota 72; 2. Indiana 68; 3. Michigan 60; 4. Penn State 58; 5. Northwestern 58; 6. Purdue 48; 7. Iowa 44; 8. Ohio State 42; 9. Wisconsin 40; 10. Illinois 32; 11. Michigan State 22.

Wednesday Event Winners: 200 medley relay 1. Wisconsin (1:36.29); 11. Lockhart, Eitel, Brayman, Mitchell, Ohio State (1:43.48); 800 freestyle relay – 1. Minnesota (7:01.65); 4. Cheverton, Narum, Buelens, Beck, Ohio State (7:10.89).