2015 Women’s Big Ten Championships: Snodgrass dominant, but Gophers expand lead at day 3 finals

Things have started to separate into a 3-team battle for the women’s Big Ten crown, with defending champs Minnesota narrowly leading Michigan and Indiana.

Probably the most hotly-anticipated race of night 3 will be the 100 backstroke, where Indiana All-American Brooklynn Snodgrass will take on top prelims swimmer Clara Smiddy, the talented Michigan freshman. A set of Snodgrass-Smiddy battles in both backstrokes have been looming all season long, and we’ll finally get the first Big Ten finals showdown between the two tonight.

Also on tap: Indiana will look to go 1-2 in the 200 freestyle with the same Kennedy Goss-Haley Lips combo that 1-2’d the 500 last night. But they’ll have to overcome defending conference champ Alyson Ackman of Penn State.

Minnesota freshman Brooke Zeiger is the top seed in the 400 IM. She really blew up in last night’s finals, swimming the third-fastest 500 free time overall from the B final, so look for her to crank it up tonight. Her teammate Kierra Smith will look to defend her Big Ten 100 breast title as the Golden Gophers’ other top seed.

Meanwhile Wisconsin’s Ivy Martin looks for her second win after stealing the show with last night’s 50 free. Martin is the top seed in the 100 fly, an event where we could see half the field or more break into the 51-second range.

Day 3 will kick off with the 400 medley relay and close with 3-meter diving. Keep refreshing this page for event-by-event updates of all the action.

Also, be sure to follow our new live Twitter handle, @SwimSwamLive, for up-to-the-second results from this meet and the other conference championships happening across the nation.

Day 3 prelims recap

Day 3 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 400 Medley Relay

So far in these championships, no team has been hotter on relays than Wisconsin, and the Badgers kept that trend going with their third relay win of the weekend in the 400 medley.

The Badgers nipped Michigan 3:33.27 to 3:33.32 with yet another heroic Ivy Martin split. This time, the senior star was 47.06 o the anchor leg, coming back nearly a full second on Michigan to pick up the event win. Also on that winning relay were Annie Tamblyn, Anna Meinholz and Dana Grindall, who contributed a 51.97 split.

Nobody had four really solid legs in this relay, so the battles mostly came down to which team’s studs outperformed the field by the most on their respective splits. Michigan’s Clara Smiddy was 52.22 on a nice leadoff leg, and fellow freshman Emily Kopas was 59.50 on breaststroke. The Wolverines also featured Zoe Mattingly on fly and Ali DeLoof on the free leg.

Last night, Minnesota and Ohio State dueled for third from different heats, with the Gophers touching out the Buckeyes. Tonight was the opposite, as Minnesota finished third in the last heat, but OSU snuck in for a slightly better time from the early heat.

The Buckeyes were 3:34.10, getting a 59.16 breaststroke split from Rachael Dzierzak and a 52.56 on fly from Aliena Schmidtke, who could be in the hunt for the 100 fly win later tonight. Minnesota, meanwhile, was 3:34.15, with freshman Danielle Nack going 52.45 on fly and Rebecca Weiland anchoring in 48.49.

Of major note in the team points race is the DQ on the Indiana Hoosiers, who looked primed to make a move for the team lead tonight. IU leads all teams in A and B finalists, but will lose major points with this relay disqualification, a false start on flyer Gia Dalesandro. Dalesandro was 51.2 on that split, easily the field’s fastest, though the time was aided by the early start, and Brooklynn Snodgrass led all backstrokers with a 52.04. The Hoosiers were the defending Big Ten champs in the race, and though they wouldn’t have fared as well this year due to their extreme lack of a breaststroker, they still lost out on 28 points.

Penn State took fifth in 3:35.35 and also had a solid butterflyer with Carolyn Fittin‘s 52.77. Rutgers will get one of their higher finishes of the weekend sof ar in 6th, going 3:37.64.

After one event, Minnesota maintains its lead, sitting at 262.5. Michigan is still roughly 30 back at 230.5, and Wisconsin (202) has passed Indiana (179) for third.

Women’s 400 IM

It’s been a huge year for freshmen in the Big Ten, and Minnesota rookie Brooke Zeiger pulled down the fourth individual win for a freshman in five events so far with a blistering 4:03.28 in the 400 IM.

That time absolutely crushed the field, winning by almost 5 seconds, and takes over the #1 ranking in the NCAA this year – better than the SEC Champion (Georgia’s Hali Flickinger) and the ACC Champion (Louisville’s Tanja Kylliainen).

Zeiger led from the get-go, building a two-second lead at the halfway point. She also had the field’s fastest splits in all four strokes.

Ohio State’s Lindsey Clary was the runner-up, using a great breaststroke to pass up Wisconsin’s Aja Van Hout over the back half. Clary was 4:08.07 to Van Hout’s 4:09.89.

The next two spots went to Indiana, with freshman Samantha Lisy going 4:11.32 and senior Dorina Szekeres finishing in 4:12.08. The three-team battle between IU, Michgian and Minnesota continued from there, with Michigan’s Marni Oldershaw (4:12.95) and Minnesota’s Sam Harding (4:13.14) taking the next two spots.

Purdue’s Nika Petric rounded out the A final in 4:14.25. Continuing the trend of fresh faces, new Wisconsin transfer Danielle Valley went 4:11.25 to win the B final.

Minnesota continues to lead with 295.5 points to Michigan’s 253.5. Wisconsin still leads Indiana for third, 229 to 218, with Penn State topping the next tier of teams.

Women’s 100 Fly

Wisconsin’s Ivy Martin might have just sealed her crown as the Big Ten Swimmer of the Meet, going 52.01 to win the 100 fly. Martin, who torched the 50 free and is the heavy favorite in tomorrow’s 100 free, added the butterfly to her elite repertoire this year, winning after taking just 8th a year ago.

Martin was out very fast, going 24.13 at the first 50 to lead by a tenth over Ohio State’s Aliena Schmidtke. But the Buckeye fell off while Martin surged forward – Schmidtke ended up fifth with a 52.43  in an A final that was incredibly tight.

Indiana’s Gia Dalesandro had an insane 13.22 split on her final 25, beating everyone in the field by at least six tenths, and she nearly passed up Martin for the touchout win. Dalesandro was 52.07, just .06 back of the title. Meanwhile Wisconsin made it a 1-3 finish with Dana Grindall‘s 52.31.

Minnesota senior Becca Weiland improved her prelims swim by a tenth, going 52.35 for fourth, followed by Schmidtke. Golden Gophers Tori Simenec (52.87, 6th) and freshman Danielle Nack (52.96, 7th) packed the A final, with Purdue’s Alexandra Todd closing out the heat in 53.62.

A huge event for Minnesota with four different point-scorers launched them into their most comfortable lead of the meet so far, 341.5 to Wisconsin’s 265. The backstroke will be a killer for the Gophers, but they’re doing exactly what they need to by padding their lead early in the session.

Michigan got through their weakest stroke, but only scored a single point, dropping them to third. Indiana remains fourth, with their weak stroke, breaststroke, upcoming, but their strongest event, the 100 back, right after.

Women’s 200 Free

Indiana needs some major work to dig themselves out of the hole the medley relay DQ put them in, but the 200 free was a great start. For the second day in a row, Kennedy Goss and Haley Lips went 1-2 in an event, providing a big points boom for the Hoosiers.

Lips, a freshman, was 1:44.15 for the win, a time that checks in at 6th in the NCAA this year. Her junior teammate Lips went 1:44.68, topping defending conference champ Alyson Ackman (1:44.99) of Penn State. Ackman was third overall.

Ackman was followed by Minnesota senior Jess Plant, who had a solid swim to go 1:45.55. Ackman and Plant, both Canadian, went 1-2 in this event a year ago.

Michigan sophomore Claudia Goswell picked up some big points for Michigan, restarting momentum after a rough 100 fly. The Wolverine was 1:45.91 for fifth, and Michigan also had freshman Gillian Ryan go 1:46.82 for eighth.

Purdue is having its best night of the meet so far, with A finalists in every event so far. The Boilermakers got a 6th place finish out of freshman Abby Jagdfeld (1:46.22) and seventh from senior Rhiannon Sheets (1:46.43). Purdue also won the B final with Alexa Davis, who went 1:45.56, the 5th-best time overall in finals.

The scores continue to shake up on an event-by-event basis behind leaders Minnesota. Indiana vaulted back into second place, leading Michigan by about 5, though both are still around 80 back of the Golden Gophers.

Women’s 100 Breast

Minnesota’s Kierra Smith held on to defend her conference title in the 100 breaststroke, though the race was more dramatic than expected.

Smith, who specializes in the 200 breast, actually sat 3rd at the 50-mark, with a couple more swimmers breathing down her neck. But the Canadian crushed a big back half, going 31.11 over the final 50 yards to take the win in 59.32. Ohio State’s Rachel Dzierzak followed up a nice medley relay split with a 59.61 for second place. The junior has had an outstanding meet – in prelims, she dropped her lifetime-best from a 1:02.02 to a 1:00.27, and she cracked a minute for the first time in her career in the final.

Also under a minute was Michigan freshman Emily Kopas, who went 59.85 with a big back-half split of her own.

Iowa’s Emma Sougstad was the early leader, and held on for fourth in 1:00.04, just missing her own first time under the minute barrier.

Ohio State’s Ashley Vance, coming off a runner-up finish in the 400 IM, took fifth in 1:00.68, just touching out Wisconsin’s Anna Meinholz (1:00.80) and Penn State’s Taylor Cameron (1:00.88). Emily Fogle of Purdue closed out the head in 1:01.40.

Indiana’s had a roller-coaster night, and their lack of a scoring breaststroker dropped them back to fourth in team points. Minnesota leads at 383.5, with Michigan second (295.5) and Wisconsin third (287). IU is three points back of Wisconsin, but should be primed to make a big run in the backstroke.

Also of note: Purdue has passed up Penn State for fifth – the Boilermakers really got the job done in prelims, and are reaping the points benefits so far tonight.

Women’s 100 Back

Tonight’s marquee matchup was everything we hoped it would be, coming right down to the touch between Indiana junior Brooklynn Snodgrass and Michigan freshman Clara Smiddy. The Hoosier took home the title, defending her 2014 win and breaking the Big Ten meet record with a  51.51.

Smiddy was just behind in 51.83. The duo will now sit #4 and #6 in the NCAA (pending the results of the other conference championships this weekend), with Smiddy passing Missy Franklin for 6th.

The Wolverines went 1-2, getting a 52.70 in second place from junior Ali DeLoof. Indiana, meanwhile, took fourth with their second swimmer, freshman Marie Chamberlain (52.91).

Ohio State’s Zhesi Li was fifth in 53.08, and Rutgers will get its highest finisher yet with Joanna Wu‘s 53.14 sixth-place swim.

Indiana’s other two A finalists took 7th and 8th – Justine Ress was 53.15 and Alexandria Day 53.40.

With no Minnesota point-scorers in the event, the scores tightened up considerably. The Golden Gophers still lead at 383.5, but Indiana is now within 40, at 348. Michigan sits at 331.5, and Wisconsin has dropped off just a tick to 296.

Women’s 3-meter Diving

Minnesota freshman Yu Zhou continues to dominate the diving boards, picking up her second win in as many days. The Chinese diver has clearly found a great fit under former Chinese national diving coach Wenbo Chen in Minneapolis, and her 411.55 crushed the field on 3-meter for another title.

Indiana’s Jessica Parratto nailed her last dive to rise up from the middle of the pack to take second, scoring 372.45.

The Nebraska Huskers got their highest finisher yet in the Big Ten Championships, as Anna Filipcic scored 356.75, and Purdue’s Mary-Beth Dunnichay was 353.70 for fourth.

Ohio State had two A finalists in diving, with Taylor Ford taking 5th (340.10) and Brittany Menninger 7th (317.95). In between was Michigan State’s Cristee Cordes (the Spartans first A finalist of the meet) in 323.85, and Minnesota senior Katy Etterman followed up her runner-up 1-meter performance with eighth place on 3-meter (315.45).

That means at the close of the night, Minnesota will lead Indiana by 47 in search of their fourth-straight Big Ten title, with Michigan a ways back in third. We’ll have a full points update coming shortly, along with our nightly “6 Big Things” post-meet analysis.

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NickH

The Indiana DQ in the medley relay could be a game changer.

swimbystander

Here come the Badgers. They are gaining momentum…and going to be a force to be reckoned with. Ivy….Aja…nice!

Seasprite

College swimming is definitely agreeing with Brooke Zeiger! Nice swim!

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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