- Dates: Wednesday, February 19th – Saturday, February 22nd; Prelims 11AM/Finals 6:30PM
- Location: University Aquatic Center, University of Minnesota (Central Time Zone)
- Defending Champion: Minnesota (2x) (results)
- Live Results: Available here
- Live Video (If available): Available here
- Championship Central
Indiana leads, but defending champs Minnesota grabbed three more finals swims on day 2 in what’s already looking very much a two-team race. The first night of individual racing is jam-packed with great battles including the hotly anticipated Lindsay Vrooman-Kiera Janzen showdown in the 500 free (which might get even more interesting if top-seeded Gopher Sam Harding has any more in the tank for tonight). In addition, two Michigan Wolverines lead a tightly-bunched 200 IM field and Wisconsin star Ivy Martin was already 21.58 in the 50 free, one of the nation’s top times.
200 Free Relay
Ivy Martin led off in 21.69 to give her Wisconsin Badgers an early lead in the 200 free relay, and it turned out to be just enough rope to hang on for the conference title. Minnesota closed hard, bringing things to within a tenths, but couldn’t quite get past the Badgers, who won in 1:28.75 to Minnesota’s 1:28.86. Martin was joined by Chase Kinney (22.0), Aja Van Hout (22.1) and Emma Paulson (22.7) on the relay.
Minnesota was pretty consistent across the board: Becca Weiland led off in 22.4, Blake Zeiger was 22.1, Erin Caflisch 22.0 and Tess Behrens 22.1. All four women will swim the 50 free later tonight, with Weiland, Zeiger and Caflisch in the championship final.
Indiana took third place in 1:29.49. That was just enough to touch out Penn State by .02, thanks in large part to Brooklyn Snodgrass‘s 21.9 split swimming third. Kaitlyn Flederbach, who is the Hoosier’s top threat in the open 50 tonight, led off in 22.4.
With Indiana entering the night with a 2-point lead, that relays means things are all tied up at the top of the standings, with Minnesota and Indiana both holding 106 points.
The hotly-anticipated 500 free battle between Lindsay Vrooman and Kiera Janzen never really materialized – instead, Vrooman had to contend with a different Gopher, sophomore Samantha Harding.
Harding went out fast, jumping out on Vrooman by a half-second and staying there through the 300. But the Hoosier senior started to close from there, cutting things down to just a .03 margin at the 400 mark and taking off over the final four lengths for a dominating 4:36.91 win. Harding took second with a 4:38.06, just a hundredth off what she went at prelims to grab the top seed.
In a race over four and a half minutes long, Ohio State’s Alexandra Norris was equally consistent, going just .03 off her prelims swim to take third. Janzen fell off the pace over the last 200, slipping to 4th overall in 4:42.21.
Penn State’s Alyson Ackman and Katelyn Sowinski were next, and Indiana’s Stephanie Marchuk and Haley Lips rounded out the A heat.
Minnesota freshman Maddie Hoch dropped two more seconds off her already-lifetime-best prelims time to go 4:45.07 and win a packed B final. Four women went 4:45 in the race, including Penn State’s Megan Silverling (who finished just a tenth or so back of Hoch), Purdue’s Nika-Karlina Petric and Hoch’s teammate Jessica Plant, who also cut two seconds from her prelims swim.
The 200 IM was such a loaded field coming in – most of the attention was on defending champ Tori Siminec and Indiana IM stud Dorina Szekeres, along with the Michigan duo who surprised the conference by taking the top two seeds this morning. But Ohio State’s Ashley Vance managed to fly below the radar before rising from the 5th seed to win the Big Ten Championship with a school-record 1:56.91. She went out the fastest to the 50 and never looked back, only giving up the lead to Michigan’s Marni Oldershaw briefly after breaststroke but taking it back again on freestyle.
Oldershaw hung on for second in 1:57.11, while her teammate Courtney Beidler went 1:57.21 to take third just behind her. Another big riser, the 8-seed Kierra Smith of Minnesota, used what was easily the field’s best breaststroke leg to nab fourth place with a 1:57.86. Szekeres was fifth and Siminec sixth in the tightly-bunched heat. The final two swimmers were Penn State’s Gabi Shishkoff and Indiana’s Bronwyn Pasloski.
Indiana’s Gia Dalesandro topped Penn State’s Haley Sinatro to win the B final 1:58.61 to 1:58.99.
To no surprise, it was Wisconsin’s Ivy Martin who crushed the 50 free. After setting the conference record in prelims at 21.58 and then leading off the 200 free relay in 21.69 earlier in the night, Martin found one more hundredth in her to go 21.68. She powered away from the field right off the get-go, topping Minnesota butterfly star Becca Weiland by .6. Weiland took second for the Gophers in 22.27, and that was a clear step above the rest of the field as well.
OSU senior Michelle Williams touched out Badger Chase Kinney by .02 for third, with Indiana’s Katilyn Flederbach just .02 back from Kinney. Sixth went to Penn State’s Carolyn Fittin and Minnesota’s Erin Caflisch and Blake Zeiger tied for 7th place.
The B final went to Kylie Vogel of Purdue. Her 22.67 topped Ohio State’s Annelise Jongekrijg by .11.
Minnesota’s sprinting depth came up big in the final swimming event of the night, rocketing them to a 32-point lead. The championship final of 1-meter diving is yet to come – Minnesota placed 10th and 11th in the B final, run earlier this afternoon. Indiana and Minnesota each have 1 diver in the finals tonight as well.
Purdue’s Casey Matthews scored 351.25 to dive past Minnesota’s Maggie Keefer on 1-meter. Matthews, one of four Purdue divers in the finals, grabbed the Big Ten Championship and came up just about 20 points shy of a new conference record.
Keefer wound up second with a 339.05 just ahead of the next three Boilermakers – Mary Dunnichay, MacKenzie Tweardy and Michelle Cabassol.
That big performance launched Purdue into 6th place overall. Minnesota now leads with 258 to IU’s 211. Penn State (157) and Ohio State (151) still within striking distance.
Day 3 kicks off Friday morning at 11AM Central Time.