Day 2 of the Women’s Big Ten Championships is upon us, with five finals set to go off in Columbus, Ohio.
A young, talented Michigan team currently leads the field after last night’s pair of relay events, and the Wolverines have freshman Clara Smiddy in line for a 200 IM title, though last year’s winner Ashley Vance of Ohio State might have something to say about that.
Indiana holds the top two seeds in the 500 free with Haley Lips and Kennedy Goss, but the field as a whole should be much faster in the evening. In the 50 free, everyone will try to run down Wisconsin speedster Ivy Martin, who was the only woman under 22 seconds in prelims
Keep refreshing this page for live, event-by-event updates of all the Big Ten action. And don’t forget to check out our new live Twitter account, @SwimSwamLive, where we’ll be tweeting all the newest updates from Big Tens, women’s ACCs and the SEC Championships.
Ups/Downs, scoring analysis
2015 Women’s Big Ten Championships
- When: Wednesday, February 18th to Saturday, February 21st | Prelims 11am | Finals 6:30pm
- Where: McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion, Columbus, OH (Eastern Time Zone)
- Defending Champion: Minnesota Gophers (3x)
- Live Results
- Live Video
- Championship Central: here
Women’s 200 Free Relay
The Wisconsin Badgers will sweep the 200-yard relays at Big Tens for the second-straight year. That’s thanks in large part to star senior Ivy Martin, who came up with an outrageous 20.96 split on the second leg. Though no official records are kept for relay splits, that’s got to be among the fastest times in history. Former Auburn swimmer and Olympian for the Bahamas Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace has been under 21 seconds, as have a few other select names.
Chase Kinney led off in 22.49, and the rest of the Badgers were right on the edge of 21, with Aja Van Hout going 22.07 and Annie Tamblyn 22.18. The team was 1:27.70 to shatter both the Big Ten and Big Ten meet record in the event.
Second went to Penn State in 1:28.50. Their defending 200 free conference champ Alyson Ackman was 22.47 on her leadoff leg, with Carolyn Fittin providing the fastest split at 21.66.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers were third, getting an outstanding 21.88 leadoff split from senior Becca Weiland. In any other conference, a time like that would make Weiland the favorite to win the 50 free later tonight. Though it’d be an upset for her to get by Martin in the individual event, Weiland could at least give the Badger a run if she can repeat that swim.
That time got Minnesota in just ahead of Ohio State, who won the first of two heats. (The Big Ten Conference now features 13 women’s programs, forcing relays to divide into two heats.) Annelise Jongekrijg led the Buckeyes with a 22.09 split, as OSU went 1:29.41.
Of note in the team race: Michigan was just 5th, which will hurt their standing in the team points battle early on. Even more damaging, though, was Indiana’s 7th-place finish. The Hoosiers excel through the longer events and have to be glad the 200-yard relays are now over, though they’ll have a hole to dig themselves out of after this race.
Wisconsin takes over the points lead with 106, just ahead of Michigan (96) and Minnesota (94).
Women’s 500 Free
Making up for that rough 200 free relay, though, were Hoosiers Kennedy Goss and Haley Lips. The duo went 1-2 in the 500 free, breaking away from the pack late for the sweep. The freshman Goss got the win in 4:37.83, a new lifetime-best, and the junior Lips was 4:38.27 for a new best time of her own.
Keeping up the rookie prowess in the event was Michigan’s Gillian Ryan, who came out of nowhere near the end of the race to take third in 4:39.86. Most impressive about Ryan’s race: she split an insane 53.72 over her final 100.
A pair of Minnesota Golden Gophers came in surrounding Iowa’s Becky Stoughton. It was Minnesota’s Sam Harding who led the pack with a 4:40.23, followed by Stoughton in 4:40.24 and Gopher Kiera Janzen in 4:40.44.
Penn State’s Katelyn Sowinski and Michigan’s Claudia Goswell tied for 7th in 4:43.24, and also of notewas B final winner Brooke Zeiger of Minnesota. Zeiger went 4:38.66, a time that would have been third overall. That means three of the top four times overall came from freshmen, between IU’s Goss, Minnesota’s Zeiger and Michigan’s Ryan.
Despite Indana’s dominance, a deep Minnesota attack netted them their first points lead of the meet at 131. Michigan is hot on their heels with 128, and Indiana sits at 121 in what’s shaping up to be a thrilling team battle.
Women’s 200 IM
The 200 IM saw a second-straight event won by a freshman. This time it was Michigan’s Clara Smiddy who topped the field, going 1:56.74 to beat defending Big Ten champ Ashley Vance of Ohio State.
Smiddy, a noted backstroker, pushed the front half of the event in a big way, holding off Vance’s late breaststroke surge. Smiddy had the field’s best fly and back splits, and her 27.3 backstroke outsplit everyone by well over 1.5 seconds.
Vance was 1:57.26 for Ohio State, and Michigan went 1-3 in the event, getting third from junior Marni Oldershaw in 1:58.14.
That just touched out Minnesota’s Tori Simenec, who rocketed up from her 8th seed to take fourth in 1:58.20 with the event’s best closing split. Her teammate Kierra Smith was fifth, putting up the field’s fastest breaststroke split (32.7) to go 1:58.62. That bodes well for Smith’s prospects in the breaststroke races, where she’s the defending conference champ.
Indiana freshman Samantha Lisy went 1:58.76 and her sophomore teammate Bailey Pressey was 1:59.00. The final swimmer in the championship heat was Iowa’s Emma Sougstad, who went 1:59.70.
Once again the B final produced a big swim, with Indiana sophomore Gia Dalesandro going 1:58.17, the fourth-fastest time overall.
If you thought things couldn’t get closer in the team points battle, think again. Michigan now leads at 164.5, but Indiana is just three-and-a-half back at 161. Minnesota, meanwhile, is third in 160.
Women’s 50 Free
Ivy Martin continued to be untouchable in the sprints, crushing the 50 free field for the win in her senior season. Martin’s 21.65 bettered her prelims swim by .04. That prelims race tied the old pool record held by Lara Jackson, and now Martin will take sole possession of that record, though she didn’t break her own Big Ten record of 21.58 set a year ago.
Martin moves now to #2 in the NCAA, behind only Stanford’s Simone Manuel.
Minnesota’s Becca Weiland tied with Ohio State’s Zhesi Li for second place. Weiland was 21 leading off the 200 free relay, but couldn’t quite summon up the same speed here and went 22.13. Li, the Chinese freshman, snuck in for a share of the silver medal.
Penn State put four swimmers into the top 13 in this event, and should get a solid points bump. The Nittany Lions were led by senior Carolyn Fittin, who went 22.34 for fourth place.
Michigan’s Ali DeLoof (22.36) was just behind, as was one of Wisconsin’s other two A finalists Chase Kinney (22.45). The third Badger was 8th-place Annie Tamblyn (22.72). In between Kinney and Tamblyn was Penn State’s Alyson Ackman in 22.54.
As expected, that 50 free hurt Indiana badly, as the Hoosiers scored no one. Michigan maintains its lead with 187.5, but will have a rough event of its own in 1-meter diving. Meanwhile Minnesota is ten back at 177.5 and Martin’s heroics led Wisconsin to a third-place slot in 162 points.
Women’s 1-meter Diving
Narrowly trailing with one event to go, the defending champion Minnesota Gopher divers came through in a big way, going 1-2 to close the night on 1-meter.
Leading that charge was Chinese freshman Yu Zhou, who scored 365 points to win her first-ever Big Ten title in her first-ever Big Ten appearance.
Zhou was followed by senior Katy Etterman, who scored 333.80 to beat Nebraska’s Anna Filipcic (329.50).
Indiana also got a diving boost, with freshman Jessica Parratto scoring 322.30 for fourth place.
Purdue put a pair of divers into the championship final, and they took 5th and 6th. MacKenzie Tweardy was fourth in 315.05 and Mary-Beth Dunnichay fith with 310.75.
Rounding out the A final were Iowa’s Abby Grilli (306.70) and Minnesota’s Jessica Ramberg (289.30).
Michigan entered the event leading in team points, but got only a 9th-place finish from Carey Chen in the B final, which wrapped up before the swimming finals.
That meant that in a wild, back-and-forth night in terms of team points, Minnesota would end the night leading in its pursuit of a fourth-straight Big Ten title. Their 232 points give them a decent cushion against Michigan (196) and Indiana (179) with a lot of swimming yet to come.
We’ll have a full points breakdown coming later on in the evening, as well as our traditional in-depth analysis of the night’s biggest storylines. Stay tuned!