2019 B1G WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIPS
- When: Wednesday, February 20th to Saturday, February 23rd | Prelims 11am | Finals 6:30pm (6pm Saturday)
- Where: Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatics Center, Bloomington, IN (Eastern Time Zone)
- Defending Champion: Michigan Wolverines (3x)
- Live Results
- Streaming: Big Ten Network
- Championship Central: here
Michigan’s stars are doing what they do best. Siobhan Haughey is good at everything, Miranda Tucker should vie for 2nd behind Indiana’s Lilly King in the breaststrokes, and the freestyle events are really well-defended between Haughey, sprinter Catie Deloof, and distance swimmers Rose Bi and Sierra Schmidt.
One of the new pieces of the puzzle for the Wolverines is upstart freshman Maggie Macneil. Coming in with an impressive meters background but completely unproven in yards, Macneil has not given people any reasons to doubt her. Consistently dependable in dual meets, she’s already broken 50 seconds in the 100 fly this season, a task that, up until Kelsi Dahlia came along in 2015, had never been done before.
Indiana gets one last season out of world record holder King, who is one of the most valuable swimmers in the country. They’re hurting in the backstroke and sprint free department, especially after news broke that freshman sprint freestyler Ileah Doctor is no longer on the team, but they have a wealth of talent in others. In the 200 breast, for example, they have nine swimmers in the top 25, including five of the top 10. Christie Jensen and Denver transfer Bailey Andison will be relied upon heavily, while freshmen like Noelle Peplowski and Mac Looze have really excelled and will need to keep stepping up if Indiana is going to seriously challenge Michigan.
Minnesota and Wisconsin are two other competitive powerhouses of the conference, with Mackenzie Padington and Lindsey Kozelsky starring for the Gophers and Beata Nelson leading the way for the Badgers.
200 Medley Relay
800 Free Relay
200 Free Relay
200 Individual Medley
400 Medley Relay
400 Individual Medley
400 Freestyle Relay
Gabriele Serniute (senior breaststroker) — Serniute ranks in the top 30 in the conference in the 100 breaststroke.
Christine Jensen (senior butterflier), Noelle Peplowski (freshman breaststroker), Bailey Andison (senior IMer), Lilly King (senior breaststroker), Jessica Paratto (senior diver) — King is king. Jensen has pushed her butterfly range to the 200 level, and her IMs are great. Speaking of IMs, transfer Andison leads the conference in the 400 IM, and freshman Peplowski is just one out of a very powerful group of breaststrokers that is reminiscent of Texas A&M’s recent (and absurd) depth. Paratto, meanwhile, is a phenomenal diver.
Hannah Burvill (junior freestyler), Kelsey Drake (sophomore sprinter) — Burvill is one of the rangiest freestylers in the conference; she’s ranked in the top ten in the 50, 100, 200, and 500 free.
Maggie Macneil (freshman sprinter), Vanessa Krause (sophomore butterflier), Catie Deloof (senior sprinter), Siobhan Haughey (senior freestyler/IMer), Rose Bi (senior distance freestyler), Miranda Tucker (junior breaststroker), Sierra Schmidt (sophomore distance freestyler) — Michigan’s sprint depth is absurd– they’re ranked 1-2-4 in the 50 free, 1-2-3-7 in the 100 free, and 1-2-5-7-11 in the 200 free. There are several swimmers on this roster who are expected to vie for national titles individually.
Ana Sortland (senior breaststroker) — Sortland’s been 1:00.99 this year in the 100 breast, which ranks 13th in the conference. In the deepest breaststroke field of any conference, Sortland has a chance to crack into an A final.
Mackenzie Padington (sophomore freestyler), Tevyn Waddell (junior backstroker), Lindsey Kozelsky (junior breaststroker), Chantal Nack (senior butterflier), Rachel Munson (senior mid-distance freestyler) — Padington leads the conference in the 500 free, and Nack has been great in her season year to give the Gophers another mid-distance freestyle punch. Waddell is one of the best backstrokers and butterfliers in the conference, and of course Kozelsky will duel for top finishes in the breaststrokes.
Autumn Haebig (freshman mid-distance freestyler/backstroker), Abigail Knapton (junior diver), Gwen Worlton (junior breaststroker) — Haebig will try to build off of a successful freshman campaign, while Knapton is eyeing a top 8 finish on the platform.
Malorie Han (junior sprinter), Calypso Sheridan (sophomore everything), Olivia Rosendahl (senior diver), Sophie Angus (sophomore breaststroker) — Sheridan is incredibly versatile, having been 1:56/4:08 in the IM’s, 2:08 in the 200 breast, 1:54 in the 200 back, and she’s even been 24.0 in the 50 back (the fastest in the conference). Northwestern has already built themselves up well for a great post-season in Jeremy Kipp’s first season– Han is swimming the best sprint free of her life, and this freshman class will surprise people in February.
Hanna Gresser (sophomore breaststroker), Molly Kowal (junior distance freestyler), Kathrin Demler (junior IMer/butterflier), Kristen Romano (sophomore everything) — Kowal is a dependable distance freestyler, while Demler has emerged as a solid candidate for the 200 fly Big Ten title. This is a deeper team than people give them credit for.
Ally McHugh (senior distance), Maddie Hart (junior backstroker)— Ally McHugh is favored for at least two Big Ten titles, in the 500 free and mile. Hart sits in the conference’s top 10 in both butterfly events, and she’s the Nittany Lions’ top backstroker right now, too.
Taite Kitchel (senior butterflier), Jinq En Phee (junior breaststroker) — En Phee is one of just seven swimmers to have broken a minute in the 100 breast in the conference this season.
Vera Koprikova (senior backstroker), Francesca Stoppa (senior butterflier) — Koprikova has been on fire — she’s ranked 2nd in the conference in the 200 back.
Lillie Hosack (freshman freestyler/IMer), Beata Nelson (junior backstroker/IMer), Jessica Unicomb (senior backstroker), Emmy Sehmann (senior sprinter) — Yuri Suguiyama’s Badgers look good, led by Beata Nelson, who has ascended to stardom over the last year or so. Nobody is remotely close in the conference to Nelson in either backstroke event, and she’s nearly two full seconds ahead of Michigan’s Haughey this season in the 200 IM. Freshman Hosack is one to watch– coming to Madison with a 1:49 200 free best, she dropped a 1:44 split on their 800 free relay mid-season.
Michigan’s Rose Bi and Sierra Schmidt, along with Penn State’s Ally McHugh, come in after scoring in the B final of this event at the 2018 NCAAs. Bi was 4:35.09 to win this event at Big Tens by over two seconds last year, while McHugh was 4:36.17 to win the B final ahead of Bi and Schmidt at NCAAs.
This year, however, Minnesota’s Mackenzie Padington leads the conference with her 4:37.01 from the Hawkeye Invitational, with Bi (4:37.24), McHugh (4:38.46), and Schmidt (4:38.91) not far behind. Padington has been MIA this semester, having done no registered racing, so it’s unclear what has kept her from competing and if she’s racing at Big Tens.
Indiana’s Cassy Jernberg has looked solid, and is the only other swimmer in the conference under 4:40 this year (4:39.96).
If Wisconsin’s Beata Nelson is remotely vulnerable in one event at Big Tens, it’s certainly not the backstrokes. She’s been 1:53.08, nearly two seconds ahead of Siobhan Haughey of Michigan (1:55.04), who is her biggest threat.
Last year, Haughey got the victory here, finishing at 1:53.59 over Nelson’s 1:53.85. Nelson led after breaststroke, but Haughey used a 26.98 final 50 to storm past Nelson’s 27.69. Last year, Nelson was also just 1:55.16 mid-season, while she went on to go 1:53.8 at Big Tens and then 1:53.5 at NCAAs. She’s already been faster than ever, though, at this year’s mid-season meet. Haughey was 1:53.4 at mid-season last year, compared to her 1:55.0 this season. It looks like it may be Nelson’s race to lose, as she’s seriously elevated her game.
IU’s Bailey Andison was 1:54.38 for a PR at last year’s mid-season meet when she was with Denver, so she’s lurking. Northwestern’s Calypso Sheridan should be on your radar, too; she was 1:57.8 at mid-season last year, but went a PR 1:56.6 in December.
Last year, Ohio State’s Meg Bailey won this at 4:04.85, the only swimmer under 4:06. She’s since graduated, and IU’s Andison leads the conference at 4:05.44. Another Buckeye, Kathrin Demler, has replaced Bailey and is seeded 2nd in this event (4:07.06) ahead of PSU’s McHugh (4:07.89) and NU’s Sheridan (4:08.76).
IU freshman Mac Looze has dropped a ton of time since getting to college barely more than a semester ago, and she’s already been 4:09.16 this year as the fifth and final swimmer to have broken 4:10 this year so far.
Bi and OSU’s Kristen Romano are not to be forgotten about, however. Bi never swam this mid-season, so her season best is a dual meet 4:19, while Romano was 4:11 at mid-season but she was 4:06.90 at Big Tens last year, where Bi was 4:07.75. Michigan freshman Victoria Kwan is another one to watch after having been 4:11.05 mid-season.
200 MEDLEY RELAY
Michigan is not losing a freestyle relay anytime soon, unless something drastic happens, but the 200 medley relay is shaping up to be a barn-burner.
Right now, IU leads the conference at 1:35.86, just ahead of Michigan (1:36.06) and Wisconsin (1:36.17). IU posted that time mid-season, when they had Ileah Doctor anchor at 21.94, but she no longer swims for the Hoosiers. Grace Haskett, now a sophomore, was 22.02 to anchor last year, though, so she is likely to step in and anchor at Big Tens. Indiana is still looking at a sprint backstroke issue, though if Michigan goes with Macneil on fly and Taylor Garcia on backstroke, which is likely, the Hoosiers might not be too far out of it with King set to deliver a magical split on breast and Jensen capable of a sub-23 fly split. IU doesn’t have someone to really be able to gun down Catie Deloof, so if the Hoosiers aren’t leading by a significant margin going into the final leg, that’s trouble for them.
Indiana has a tiny edge on paper, but just lost their best anchor and questions lurk around their backstroke leg. Wisconsin is definitely not to be counted out, but Nelson will really need to impress on the fly leg if she’s going to considerably out-do Macneil and Jensen.
Swimulator, which does not factor in diving, has Michigan with a slight edge on its conference meet projection. IU has high profile diver Jessica Paratto, but Michigan’s Christy Cutshaw has looked strong this season and the Wolverines have more divers in the top 30 (in multiple diving events) than IU does.
Further, Doctor leaving IU deals a blow to their relays, and she was looking like a potential A finalist in at least the 50 free. The Swimulator still includes her, and it projects her to score 24 individual points. The Indiana women finished a little over 300 points behind Michigan at this meet last year, but they have a really deep freshman class and are incredibly deep in a few events (especially the breaststrokes and IMs) which will bode very well in a scoring format that awards points down to the 24th place. Things should be close, and we know that an Indiana v. Michigan showdown will leave swimmers fighting for every point, whether it’s for 1st place or 24th.
Michigan should easily beat Indiana at NCAAs, but NCAAs are not the same as Big Tens, so expect a closer meet here.
The next rung down, you have Wisconsin with a very legitimate shot at claiming a third place finish ahead of Ohio State. Michigan, IU, OSU, and Minnesota finished 1st through 4th, respectively, last year, and all four of those teams surpassed the 1000 point mark. Wisconsin was a distant 5th at 755, over 200 points behind 4th place Minnesota. This would be a big push for the Badgers, though the Buckeyes always bring a lot of depth and shouldn’t be counted out.
NU finished 7th last year behind Purdue, scoring 528 points. While the Boilermakers do have substantial diving power, so does Northwestern, thanks largely to two-time NCAA platform champion Rosendahl. The Wildcats also have one of their fullest swimming rosters in years, and will be hungry to move up in the conference in the first year under its new Jeremy Kipp-led coaching staff.
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Michigan State