Key Losses: Jason Schnur (4 NCAA Relays), Zach Holmes (3 NCAA relays), Zach Birnbrich (1 NCAA Relay)
Key Additions: Andrew Appleby (OH – Backstroke), Mark Belanger (OH – Freestyle, Butterfly), Kevin Bressler (OH – Breaststroke), Charlie Fry (OH – Freestyle), Alex Gonzalez (OH – Diving), Jack Hendricks (OH – Freestyle), Steffen Hillmer (Germany – Freestyle), Vladislav Komarov (Russia – Freestyle), Joey Long (OH – Freestyle), Matt McHugh (WI – Stroke/Freestyle Sprinter), Matt Moen (CT – Distance Freestyle, IM), Alex Rosen (OH – Freestyle), Micah Simpson (OH – Freestyle)
2012-2103 Lookback: The Buckeyes were a bit surprising to finish in 12th place at this met. Not surprising because they certainly have the talent, but surprising because they weren’t around in a lot of the evening races. They had only three evening swims individually, and missed scoring in the 800 free relay. Though few in numbers, their scores went for solid points.
Ohio State’s 200 freestyle relay finished 9th at the NCAA Championships. Three seniors, Jason Schnur, Zach Brinbirch, and Zach Homles were on the relay along with standout junior, Tim Phillips. The top three times in the 50 freestyle all came from seniors. The only other swimmer with a “B” cut in the 50 was from sophomore Michael DiSalle, who swam a 20.14 at the Big Ten Championships. He was able to drop a little bit of time from his freshman year, and if he can drop again as a junior, he has the potential to be 19 low or 18 low in the relay if he has a fantastic season. Josh Fleagle, a freshman, is another sprinter with a lot of potential. His time from the Big Ten Championships is not the best representation of what he is capable of. He was 20.4-20.6 several times during the regular season. He will be one to watch during his sophomore season.
The 400 freestyle relay finished 11th at the NCAA Championship. The team of Schnur, Phillips, Holmes, and DiSalle all split between 43.01 and 43.61. Phillips’ split was 1.21 seconds faster than his flat start time from the Big Ten Championships. Schnur was .3 off his best time of the year from the Ohio State Invitational at 43.31. Everyone else on the relay was well under their best flat start times from this season. Even with Holmes and Schnur exhausting their eligibility, they have several young swimmers who were under 45 seconds in the 100 freestyle this year and 10 of the 12 incoming freshman are freestylers.
The 800 freestyle relay was their only freestyle relay that did not improve from the Big Ten Championships to the NCAA Championships. They gained over four seconds from their Big Ten time, finishing 18th in Indianapolis. All four swimmers were around a second slower than their splits at Big Ten’s. This middle distance freestyle was a major recruiting focus area for the team, with six of the twelve recruits under 1:40 in the 200 freestyle.
Both Medley relays were slower at the NCAA Championships then they were at the Big Ten Championships, but they both managed to score at the NCAA Championships. The 200 medley relay finished ninth place, and the 400 freestyle relay was 15th. Garrett Trebilcock swam the backstroke leg, followed by breaststroker Keanu Stevenson, butterflier Tim Phillips, and freestyler Jason Schnur. Schnur is the only member of the medley relays that will not be returning next season, and an added year of experience should benefit the team between Big Ten’s and NCAA’s.
Other Individual Scorers: Redshirt junior, Tim Phillips finished 8th in the 100 butterfly. Phillips had a very busy schedule at the NCAA Championships, he was also on all five relays. Sophomore Shane Miszkiel finished seventh in the 3 meter springboard event. Phillips and Miszkiel were the only two that finished in the top 8 individually.
Tamas Gerscak, a sophomore, also scored individually in two events. Gerscak finished 14th in the 400 IM and 9th in the 200 butterfly.
Superstar Freshman: Among the 12 are five guys coming out with 45-second flat-start bests in the 100 freestyle: Andrew Appleby, Mark Belanger, Charlie Fry, Vladislav Komarov, and Micah Simpson. That includes 45.1 for Komarov and 45.0 from Belanger. The Buckeyes have also brought in some long-term help for their 800 free relay; that group only graduated one from last year, Zach Holmes, but despite using their stud Tim Phillips on the relay, it failed to score any points at NCAA’s, ending up just 18th (four seconds slower than their season best.)
This is an impressive group, especially considering in OSU’s 2012-2013 freshman class, only two guys got under 1:40 all season. Coming in this year will be Belanger, who goes 1:39.2; Fry, who goes 1:39.3; Jack Hendricks who guys 1:38.9; Komarov who goes 1:38.3; Alex Rosen who goes 1:40.30, and Simpson who goes 1:40.20.
Throw on top of that Steffen Hillmer, from the famed Essen club, who is 1:52 in long course (and a 51.1 in the 100 free in long course as well.
Other standouts in the class include Matt McHugh out of Wisconsin, who’s been 47.72 in the 100 yard fly and 48.95 in the 100 yard back. Appleby also goes 48.2 in the 100 yard back, and Belanger goes 49.5 in the 100 fly. Rounding out the swimmers is Kevin Bressler, a 56.3 100 breaststroker and 2:02.5 200 breaststroker.
The Buckeyes also add a very talented diver with Alex Gonzalez. He’s the 2013 Ohio State Champion and Division II State Record holder on the 1-meter.
Diving: Gonzalez joins a talented diving group that includes junior Shane Miszkiel, who finished 7th on the 3-meter at NCAA’s last year. He is primarily a springboard diver.
2013-2014 Outlook: The Buckeyes graduated several senior sprinters, but looking beyond those relay losses noted, the Buckeyes come back in pretty healthy shape next season: they bring back 17 point scorers from the 2013 Big Ten Championships. The large freshman class of freestylers should help to fill the gaps left behind by last years seniors. The Buckeyes also hired a new diving coach after their long time coach, Vince Panzano, announced his retirement. Justin Sochor, who was the head coach of the World Championship Diving Team in Barcelona, will be the new head diving coach. Assistant Coach, Dave Rollins, is very confident about the upcoming season.
“We are returning a lot of scorers from both NCAAs and Big 10s. Our incoming class has a lot of upside and potential to contribute at both the conference level and NCAAs. We had a very successful summer with 4 school records being broken, 100 free, 100 back, 200 back and 400 [medley relay]. Two guys got under :50 for the first time in school history. We are very excited about the upcoming season! A lot of new faces, new diving coach, new freshman and a lot I momentum from the summer. Basically, it’s a great time to be a Buckeye!”