2021 Big Ten Men’s Championships: Day 4 Finals Live Recap


The morning’s prelims session saw Michigan and Indiana about evenly matched, with Indiana getting one more A-final swim tonight but Michigan getting more total swims. Projections have Indiana out-scoring Michigan by 8.5 points, and it’ll come down to nitty-gritty details in night four’s finals session, with Wolverines and Hoosiers trying to move up on their seeded placements within each final.

The team race will be extremely tight, but Michigan had a positive result in the swim-off for 16th in the 100 breast, as AJ Bornstein came away with a spot in the B-final by .01 after tying with Indiana’s Gary Kostbade in prelims, sending Kostbade to the C-final by the slimmest of margins.

Speaking of the 100 breast, the Big Ten is immensely deep in the event, with a 51.9 not making the A-final this morning after prelims. Several school records were broken in the heats, while Max McHugh will try to become the second man ever under 50 seconds tonight after his 50.19 this morning.



  • Big Ten meet record – 44.65, Shane Ryan (Penn State) – 2017
  • Big Ten record – 44.65, Shane Ryan (Penn State) – 2017
  • 2020 NCAA invite time – 46.22
  • Defending champion: Gabriel Fantoni (Indiana) – 44.92

Top 3

  1. Gabriel Fantoni (Indiana) – 45.34
  2. Hunter Armstrong (Ohio State) – 45.50
  3. Jacob Steele (Indiana) – 45.81

Ohio State’s Hunter Armstrong wasn’t quite able to replicate his 44-high from his 400 medley relay lead-off, as he posted a 45.50, just behind Indiana’s Gabriel Fantoni (45.34). Fantoni defends his 2020 title here.

Meanwhile, prelims top seed Jacob Steele earned a podium finish at third here, going 45.81, the third and final man under 46.

Fourth went to Michigan’s Wyatt Davis, the highest-finishing freshman tonight, in 46.08. He was a couple tenths off of his lifetime best, and his teammate Eric Storms was fifth in 46.39. In sixth, Wisconsin sophomore Wes Jekel dropped .15, clocking a 46.42.

Colin McDermott of Ohio State rocked a 46.19 to win the B-final. OSU had an A-finalist score here and four B-finalists, along with a C-finalist. As Michigan holds on to first place, OSU actually jumps Indiana, despite the Hoosiers having two podium finishes here; IU had just one B-finalist and no other scorers in the event. Wisconsin also climbed within a few points of overtaking Purdue.


  • Big Ten meet record – 50.19, Max McHugh – 2021
  • Big Ten record –  49.69, Ian Finnerty (Indiana) – 2018
  • 2020 NCAA invite time – 52.46
  • Defending champion: Max McHugh (Minnesota) – 50.67

Top 3

  1. Max McHugh (Minnesota) – 50.59
  2. Will Chan (Michigan) – 50.95
  3. Zane Backes (Indiana) – 51.04

Zane Backes of Indiana and Will Chan of Michigan touched right with Minnesota’s Max McHugh at the 50 mark, but McHugh was too strong on the back-half, claiming another Big Ten title with a 50.59. McHugh looked primed to break 50 seconds tonight, but wound up gaining .40 from prelims.

Chan established a new Michigan program record at 50.95, his 51.03 from prelims being the old record. Going into this season, Chan’s best was 51.91. Backes of Indiana picked up the bronze at 51.04, slicing .03 off of his old best.

Jason Mathews and Hudson McDaniel were both 51.5, Mathews gaining a quarter-second and McDaniel dropping .09 for a new best of 51.59.

In sixth, Iowa sophomore Will Myhre again lowered the Iowa school record, going 51.70, while Purdue’s Trent Pellini and Northwestern’s Kevin Houseman hit 51.8s again for seventh and eight, respectively.

In the B-final, Andrew Benson of Wisconsin swam a 52.65 for the heat win.

The Buckeyes pull ahead of Michigan now, with Indiana not far behind in third. Purdue is 9.5 points ahead of Wisconsin, and the Badgers hold a 34-point lead over Northwestern going into the 200 fly. Down the rankings, Iowa had a great push here, pulling just 12 points behind Penn State’s seventh-place position.


  • Big Ten meet record – 1:39.28, Vini Lanza (Indiana) – 2019
  • Big Ten record – 1:39.28, Vini Lanza (Indiana) – 2019
  • 2020 NCAA invite time – 1:43.18
  • Defending champion: Brendan Burns (Indiana) – 1:40.98

Top 3

  1. Brendan Burns (Indiana) – 1:39.22
  2. Corey Gambardella (Indiana) – 1:42.53
  3. Connor LaMastra (Northwestern) – 1:42.68

This race was all Brendan Burns, as the Indiana sophomore opened a huge lead over the first 100 yards. Burns torched the field, out in 46.94 and coming home in 52.28, erasing Vini Lanza’s Indiana program and Big Ten conference record of 1:39.22. Burns came into the meet with a 1:40.98, from his 2020 title-winning swim, and he takes over a second off of his morning swim, which is now his second-best performance ever (1:40.34).

Burns’ teammate Corey Gambardella took second in 1:42.53, a great swim after he swam in the B-final last year.

Northwestern showed up here, as senior Connor LaMastra rattled Federico Burdisso’s school record of 1:41.92 with a 1:42.68 to take third. That’s the first podium finish for the Wildcats, while his sophomore teammate Ben Miller cruised to a fifth-place finish at 1:44.35. Sandwiched between them was another Hoosier, Van Mathias, in 1:43.25 for fourth.

The B-final went to OSU rookie Jean-Pierre Khouzam in 1:45.42, just touching out Minnesota first-year Kaiser Neverman (1:45.45) and Wisconsin sophomore Drew Nixdorf (1:45.47) as all three dropped from prelims.

The lead swaps again, as Indiana and Michigan jump ahead of OSU, the Hoosiers now in the lead with Michigan in second and OSU in third. Purdue is holding on in fourth, 36.5 points ahead of Wisconsin, while the Badgers are ahead of NU by 3 points after the Wildcat surge in this event.


  • Big Ten meet record – 1:16.01, Indiana – 2019
  • Big Ten record – 1:15.41, Indiana – 2019
  • 2020 NCAA automatic qualifying standard: 1:17.17
  • Defending champion: Indiana – 1:16.30

Top 3

  1. Indiana – 1:16.24
  2. Purdue – 1:16.50
  3. Ohio State – 1:16.57

Ohio State, Indiana and Purdue all went into the final leg virtually tied, as the two teams from Indiana went 1-2 here.

The Hoosiers posted a winning time of 1:16.24, with Jack Franzman going 18.59 on the second leg and Van Mathias 19.00 on the anchor leg. Purdue had two 19.0s from Ryan Hrosik and Ryan Lawrence on the second and fourth legs, respectively, while Nick Sherman had a stand-out 18.98 third leg for the Boilermakers.

That’s a tremendous drop for Purdue off of their school record, taking over a second off of their 2020 mark.

The Buckeyes were 1:16.57 for third, with Sem Andreis splitting 18.65 leading off and Hunter Armstrong leading off in 19.17.

Michigan won heat two in 1:16.60, led off by Cam Peel‘s 19.30 and anchored by Gus Borges (18.56). to finish fourth.

In heat one, Penn State clocked a 1:17.07 to snag an automatic NCAA qualifying cut. On their middle legs, Will Roberson (18.96) and freshman Jake Houck (18.82) had huge splits, and they touched fifth.


  1. Indiana – 1036.5
  2. Michigan – 1010
  3. Ohio State – 1000
  4. Purdue – 615.5
  5. Wisconsin – 571
  6. Northwestern – 554
  7. Penn State – 496.5
  8. Iowa – 444.5
  9. Minnesota – 396
  10. Michigan State – 149

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sailing swimmer
1 year ago

Hunter Armstrong is still the big ten champ in my eyes 44.92! #BOOM #WE>ME #DAVIDBLAINE #YOLO #SWAG

1 year ago

Houck goes 19.29 as a freshman, gets an article about him. That benson kid goes 19.25 lead off and doesn’t even get mentioned?

1 year ago

I wish there was more differentiation of the scoring in relay events. It basically has become a game of “don’t get disqualified” because even a 5th place finish still nets 50 points out of a maximum of 64 points for winning.

Reply to  SwammaJammaDingDong
1 year ago

I completely agree. The relays are extremely hype until you remember the point difference is rather minuscule. I think a change like this would make the meet way more fun and exciting and should be looked at seriously.

1 year ago

What happened to Brandon Hamblin? I remember he split like 18 a couple times his freshman year and now he’s just regressed. Was it Coley leaving?

1 year ago

Hoo Hoo Hoo Hoosiers! What a great day! Keep it up men…”We’re All For You!” #lovegoatcoachraylooze, #honorgoatcoachraylooze, #cherishgoatcoachraylooze

1 year ago

some really slow relay exchanges by Michigan. Seems they were worried about not DQ’ing

1 year ago

200 fly is another very strong event across the NCAA this year. Burns is the 6th swimmer to break 1:40, and I don’t think we’ve had that many sub-1:40s in a season before (closest in recent years is 4 in 17-18.)

Psu fan
1 year ago

Unpopular opinion:Penn state has a strong chance to get top 3 and a shot to win the 200 free relay tonight.

Reply to  Psu fan
1 year ago

200 free relay maybe, top 3 no

Swim Coach
Reply to  Psu fan
1 year ago

Haha who are you

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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