1650 yard freestyle
Michigan’s Sean Ryan played perfectly in the storyline of this meet when he won the first event, the mile, in a great 14:50.20, which is an NCAA automatic qualifying time and 6th-fastest in the country this year. Ryan is the first freshman to win this event since Michigan Alum Brendan Neligan took the title in 2002 (though he hopes to have a better fate than Neligan, who never took another title). It was also a big emotional win for Michigan in an event that they’ve owned historically, but was won by Ohio State’ Stefan Nigrist last year. The Wolverines have now won 16 out of the last 18 Big Ten Championships, stretching back through swimmers like Peter Vanderkaay, Chris Thompson, and Tom Dolan.
His teammate Ryan Feeley also posted a spectacular time of 14:52.09 that is ranked 7th in the country. Indiana got important points from Illya Larin in 3rd place (15:02) and 5th place from Ryan Hinshaw (15:09). When matched up against Ohio State’s 6th and 8th place touches, this got Indiana off to a great start in their quest for a second-place finish.
200 yard backstroke
After Eric Ress’ awesome performance in the 100 backstroke yesterday, and with the team title locked up by Michigan, this was the race to watch on the final day. This is Ress’ best event, but he would have two significant challenger that hadn’t been a factor the day before. The first was Ohio State’s Andrew Elliott, who was poised for a bounceback after a disappointing time in the 100 yesterday. Ress also had to contend with a nasty busted hand that he suffered on the finish of his record-setting 100 back. Though no official diagnoses has been released, it seemed as though Ress was in a considerable amount of pain.
He toughed through the race to put up a fantastic 1:41.89 that was not quite his best of the season. But the injury shouldn’t belittle the performance of Elliott, who put up easily the best time of his career in 1:41.69. That places Elliott just ahead of Ress and into the top 5 in the country this season. The battle for third place was also a very good one between Ohio State’s Markus Sievers and Michigan State’s Jacob Jarzen. Sievers ended up being the first to the touch in 1:43.56, compared to Jarzen’s 1:43.78.
100 yard freestyle
We’ve highlighted, several times during this meet, how impressive the Minnesota sprint group has been. This group is led by Michael Richards, who won the 50 free, but by no means does the group stop there. In a conference as deep as the Big Ten, Minnesota pulled of a very impressive feat and took three out of the top four spots in the 100 free. Richard again led the group with a winning time of 43.20. In 3rd and 4th place, respectively, were Minnesota’s Zach Bolin (43.42) and Curt Carlson (43.50) in what was a very tight race.
The only swimmer who broke up their stranglehold was Ohio State’s Tim Phillips, who has focused more on freestyle in this meet than his primary butterfly and was second in 43.30. Iowa’s Paul Gordon touched just back of the Gophers duo for a 5th-place time of 43.52. This continues a fairly impressive meet for the Hawkeyes.
200 yard breaststroke
When Indiana’s Cody Miller won the 100 breaststroke on day 3, he caught the country by surprise. When he did it again in the 200 breaststroke, it didn’t surprise anybody. His 1:54.16 was the only A-cut in the race, and is the fastest time in the country this year. He took off hard in the first 50, and never looked back en route to a sweep of the Big Ten breaststroke titles. Ohio State’s Andrew Elliott was just behind in 1:54.62.
Minnesota’s Ivan Gutesa was third in a 1:55.36 that will easily get him to NCAA’s, and Michigan State’s Kevin Puskaric (1:56.49) should also sneak him under the NCAA cut-line.
200 yard butterfly
Simply put, Daniel Madwed crushed this 200 fly. His 1:41.70 set the School, Conference, and Championship Records. The old Conference mark was set by Davis Tarwater back in 2006. It’s the second-best time in the country this season, just a few tenths behind Georgia’s Mark Dylla, with Cal’s Tom Shields yet to swim at Pac-10’s. Michigan freshman Kyle Whitaker, who has looked unstoppable during this meet up until this point, was blown away in a second-place time of 1:43.52, and just out-touched Ohio State’s Quincy Lee (1:43.57).
Lee has really had a “breakout” meet at this Championship, which is an odd thing to say about a senior who last season won his team’s Most Improved Swimmer award. He has one-upped his junior season by blowing away all of his career-best times in his senior season. Though he’s unlikely to earn that honor for a second-straight year, he has certainly met the criteria, and should be a two-event scorer at NCAA’s. This time was also a school-record for Lee.
For the third diving event in as many days, David Boudia handily broke his own conference record to sweep the Big Ten diving titles. His score of 557.90, if he can replicate it at NCAA’s, will also blow away the old National meet mark that he set in 2007 at 530.45.
Minnesota took the other two podium spots in this event, including a 407.10 from Kristoffer Jorgensen. He should be an A-finalist at NCAA’s. His teammate Drew Brown was third. Indiana had three A-finalists and four B-finalists to seal up a runner-up finish in the meet.
400 yard freestyle relay
Ohio State really rebounded on the final day of Big Ten competition, and finished off the meet with a huge upset victory in the 400 free relay. They got great splits from Jason Schnur (42.59) and Lincoln Fahrbach (42.79) to touch in a school-record time of 2:52.00. This was Ohio State’s third school-record on the day, after Elliott’s 200 back and Lee’s 200 fly.
Minnesota seemed like they would win this race no-problem, and despite some great swims (including a 42.93 led-off from Michael Richards) just didn’t have enough to get it done. Their runner-up time of 2:52.44 was an NCAA automatic-qualifying standard though. Both of these times will be ranked in the top 10 in the country when NCAA’s rolls around.
Michigan placed 3rd in 2:52.50 to finish up their victory.
As a result of an awesome Indiana diving performance, this meet ended up closer than it seemed like it would be based on Michigan’s performances in the swimming. Despite a strong final-day performance from Ohio State, Indiana was able to fend them off by 11 points, on the backs of their divers, to finish second. The Hoosiers have a great freshman class that they leaned heavily on, and they should be in the mix for years to come.
Ohio State, the defending champions, finished in third. If they had swam as well all week as they did on the last day, they certainly would have been second, and might’ve won the meet. Minnesota had the best sprint group in the meet, but didn’t have enough depth otherwise to finish higher than fourth.
1. University of Michigan 678
2. Indiana University 604
3. Ohio State University 593
4. University of Minnesota 505.5
5. Purdue University 343.5
6. Pennsylvania State University 250.5
7. University of Iowa 228.5
8. University of Wisconsin 224
9. Northwestern University 212.5
10. Michigan State University 180.5