2016 WOMEN’S BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
- When: Wednesday, February 17th to Saturday, February 20th | Prelims 11am | Finals 6:30pm
- Where: Canham Natatorium, Ann Arbor, MI (Eastern Time Zone)
- Defending Champion: Minnesota Gophers (4x) (results)
- Meet Preview
- Live Results
- Streaming: Big Ten Network
- Championship Central: here
A Norovirus scare couldn’t keep the swift swims from being thrown down during last night’s first finals session of the 2016 Women’s Big Ten Championships, as Indiana and Michigan each came away with Conference Titles in the opening night’s relay events.
Indiana leads team scoring with 120, with Michigan close behind in 116, while Penn State and Ohio State enter day 2 tied at 100. But, the competition will gear up today with several key events that can certainly sway the point totals in a completely different direction by the time finals are done and dusted tonight.
As a reminder, the Big Ten has changed its scoring format this season to score down to 24th place instead of 16th. The relays, though, only score through 13th place as each school gets just one entry.
A Final Scoring: 32-28-27-26-25-24-23-22
B Final Scoring: 20-17-16-15-14-13-12-11
C Final Scoring: 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
Relay Scoring: 64-56-54-52-50-48-46-44-40-34-32-30-28
500 FREESTYLE – PRELIMS
The names not coming back for tonight’s A-Final are almost as interesting as those that are, as defending Big 10 Champion Kennedy Goss from Indiana was surprisingly shut out of the A-final.
Last year, Goss entered the A-final as the number two seed behind teammate Haley Lips, but Goss went on to win the 500 final in a time of 4:37.83. This year, the sophomore finds herself seeded 13th out of prelims, having registered a time of 4:43.25, still her fastest of the season by about a second, but not enough to keep pace with the top 8 rockstars.
Another stand-out who we won’t be seeing in the A-Final tonight is Minnesota senior Samantha Harding, who wound up as the 12th seed right in front of Goss. Harding was very much in the medal contention mix last year, racking up a 4th place finish in the A-Final with her time of 4:40.23. This morning, Harding touched the wall in 4:42.28.
As far as who we will see tonight, Indiana senior Lips certainly has what it takes to claim the title, sitting atop the field by more than a second with her morning time of 4:37.44. But, Michigan is lurking in the 2nd and 3rd-seeded spots with the likes of sophomore Gillian Ryan and Yirong Bi, who earned quick marks of 4:39.17 and 4:39.40, respectively. For Bi (China), her fastest SCY 500 to date was about 5 seconds slower at a 4:45.40 from just last month. The Wolverines added Bi, a former Chinese National Champion as of January, so she’s already making a big impact having made her first Big 10 final. She is definitely a wild card in tonight’s race.
Also in the A-Final is a pair of Purdue Boilermakers in the form of Kaersten Meitz and Alexa Davis. Meitz rocked a personal best of 4:39.92 to claim the 6th seed in a new school record, while her senior teammate Davis can exact some revenge on just missing the A-Final at last year’s version of the meet.
- Haley Lips, Indiana, 4:37.44
- Gillian Ryan, Michigan, 4:39.17
- Yirong Bi, Michigan, 4:39.40
- Lindsey Clary, Ohio State, 4:39.46
- Brooke Zeiger, Minnesota, 4:39.77
- Kaersten Meitz, Purdue, 4:39.92
- Alexa Davis, Purdue, 4:40.85
- Danielle Valley, Wisconsin, 4:40.94
200 IM – PRELIMS
It’s a Wolverine and Hoosier-dominated A-final for the 200 IM, as both schools saw three individual swimmers qualify for the primetime action tonigh. Leading the pack is Indiana freshman Miranda Tucker, who surged to a personal best of 1:56.91, an NCAA B cut. On par with the rest of the field through the first two legs of the race, Tucker bought some real estate with her 33.35 breaststroke split to gain the edge. Only Lilly King of Indiana was faster, with a breaststroke split of 32.85. King wound up with the 5th-fastest time of the morning with a new career-best of 1:58.47 for the freshman.
Defending Big 10 Champion Clara Smiddy from Michigan was just a hair behind Tucker, stopping the clock this morning at a comfortable 1:57.14 for the 2nd seed. Smiddy’s mark is less than a second off of her winning time from this meet last year, which was 1:56.74. We’ll see if Smiddy will again be the only swimmer in the A-Final to dip beneath the 1:57 threshold in tonight’s version of the race, or if Tucker is up to the challenge for a repeat career-best performance.
Wolverine teammate and rising star Siobhan Haughey will be in the mix for a top-3 finish as well, registering a mark of 1:57.94. She’s been as fast as 1:56.81 with her LCM-converted time from Winter Nationals which garnered her a silver medal.
Iowa’s Emma Sougstad (1:57.62) and Penn State’s Kathryn Rowe (1:58.72) represent the only non-Michigan/non-Indiana swimmers of the A-final. For junior Sougstad, her mark this morning sets a new Hawkeye school record.
- Miranda Tucker, Indiana, 1:56.91
- Clara Smiddy, Michigan, 1:57.14
- Emma Sougstad, Iowa, 1:57.62
- Siobhan Haughey, Michigan 1:57.94
- Gia Dalesandro, Indiana, 1:58.30
- Lilly King, Indiana, 1:58.47
- Kathryn Rowe, Penn State, 1:58.72
- Marnie Oldershaw, Michigan 1:58.85
50 FREESTYLE – PRELIMS
Already owning an NCAA A-cut with the 21.83 she threw down last fall at the OSU Invitational, we know of what sort of effort Buckeye sophomore Zhesi Li was capable. And the Chinese native certainly did not disappoint, as she smashed a new pool record time of 21.73 to be the only swimmer of the field to dip beneath the 22-second threshold in this morning’s race. Li was a quick 10.56 on the way out, and 11.17 coming home to splendidly clock a new Ohio State school record in the event. Li’s time also ranks as the nation’s fastest in the nation at the moment.
Ivy Martin’s 21.58 from 2014 still reigns as the B1G Record, but Li is inching up on that mark, getting closer and closer each time she swims. In fact Liz’s 21.73 from this morning would have placed her 5th overall in last year’s NCAA Championship final.
In light of the other times scored this morning, the women’s 50 is really Li’s to lose, as the next closest competitor is that of Wisconsin’s Chase Kinney and then Michigan’s Ali DeLoof. Kinney cleared a time of 22.38 to DeLoof’s 22.48, while Buckeye Macie McNichols tied DeLoof’s mark.
Nebraska got its first swimmer positioned in an A-Final, with Taryn Collura‘s effort of 22.51 for 5th place, a huge step up from the 20th position she found herself in last year.
- Zhesi Li, Ohio State, 21.73
- Chase Kinney, Wisconsin, 22.38
- Ali DeLoof, Michigan, 22.48
- & Macie McNichols, Ohio State, 22.4
- Taryn Collura, Nebraska, 22.51
- Alyson Ackman, Penn State, 22.53
- Marissa Berg, Wisconsin, 22.55
- Annelise Jongekrijg, Ohio State, 22.64