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


Despite a DQ in the 100 fly A-final last night, Michigan used an otherwise massive night three to pull from third to first, albeit by just a few points over the Indiana Hoosiers.

This morning will run prelims of the 100 back, 100 breast and 200 fly, with the Big Ten’s deep breaststroke field finally now able to get some individual swimming in. Five different men went under 51 seconds on their 400 medley relay splits on Wednesday night, while we saw the fastest 50 breast split ever on Tuesday night, courtesy of Minnesota’s Max McHugh.



  1. Michigan – 767
  2. Indiana – 763.5
  3. Ohio State – 748
  4. Purdue – 483.5
  5. Wisconsin – 444
  6. Northwestern – 413
  7. Penn State – 360.5
  8. Iowa – 325.5
  9. Minnesota – 287
  10. Michigan State – 107


  • 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 8

  1. Jacob Steele (Indiana) – 45.39
  2. Gabriel Fantoni (Indiana) – 45.57
  3. Wyatt Davis (Michigan) – 46.17
  4. Hunter Armstrong (Ohio State) – 46.24
  5. Eric Storms (Michigan) – 46.37
  6. Michael Daly (Penn State) – 46.47
  7. Nadav Aaronson (Michigan) – 46.52
  8. Wes Jekel (Wisconsin) – 46.57

The final heat saw Indiana’s Gabriel Fantoni and Ohio State’s Hunter Armstrong match up, but Fantoni got the job done, going 45.57 ahead of Armstrong’s 46.24.

In heat five, Jacob Steele of Indiana swam a huge 45.39 to break 46 for the first time, with Wisconsin’s Wes Jekel taking second in the heat (46.57).

Michigan’s Wyatt Davis took heat four, going 46.17 with teammate Eric Storms in second (46.37).

Out of lane eight in heat three, Michigan’s Nadav Aaronson crushed the heat win, going a lifetime-best 46.52.

Michigan put three up into this A-final, the most of any other team, while Indiana holds the top two spots going into tonight. Last year, the highest Wolverine finisher was 15th in this event.


  • Big Ten meet record – 50.60, Ian Finnerty (Indiana) – 2019
  • Big Ten record –  49.69, Ian Finnerty (Indiana) – 2018
  • 2020 NCAA invite time – 52.46
  • Defending champion: Max McHugh (Minnesota) – 50.67

Top 8

  1. Max McHugh (Minnesota) – 50.19 *MEET RECORD*
  2. Will Chan (Michigan) – 51.03
  3. Jason Mathews (Ohio State) – 51.30
  4. Zane Backes (Indiana) – 51.38
  5. Hudson McDaniel (Ohio State) – 51.68
  6. Kevin Houseman (Northwestern) – 51.75
  7. Will Myhre (Iowa) – 51.81
  8. Trent Pellini (Purdue) – 51.85

Max McHugh was the clear winner in the final heat, setting a new Big Ten meet record with a lifetime best 50.19, which is also a Minnesota school record. It took a 51.8 to make it back in the A-final, and at 51.93, Michigan’s Mason Hunter went a lifetime best but still missed the championship heat.

McHugh improves his time as the #4 performer in history with that swim. He could be the second man ever under 50 tonight, as Ian Finnerty’s NCAA/American/U.S. Open record sits at 49.69.

In heat five, Will Chan of Michigan clocked a 51.03, with OSU’s Jason Mathews (51.30) and IU’s Zane Backes (51.38) right behind him. For Chan, that breaks Richard Funk’s school record, while both Mathews and his teammate Hudson McDaniel (51.68) went under Mathews’ OSU record, the first two men under 52 in school history.

Chan is now tied with Louisville’s Evgenii Somov for the #2 time in the nation behind McHugh. There are now over 20 men nationwide under 52 seconds in this event, with nine of them being from the Big Ten.

Northwestern’s Kevin Houseman went under 52 in heat five, too, going a 51.75 for fourth in the heat and a lifetime best. Houseman is just off of Mike Alexandrov’s school record of 51.56.

Iowa’s Will Myhre became the first Hawkeye under 52 seconds in this event, going a school-record 51.81.

Heat four was all Trent Pellini, dropping a 51.85 for Purdue to just miss his school record. At the time, that was the fastest heat swim by almost a second.

Ohio State was the only team with more than one A-finalist here, getting two up for tonight’s championship final.

Swim-off: For a spot in the B-final, AJ Bornstein of Michigan beat Gary Kostbade of Indiana, 53.21 to 53.22. They had tied at 53.41 for 16th during the prelim heats.


  • 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 8

  1. Brendan Burns (Indiana) – 1:40.36
  2. Van Mathias (Indiana) – 1:42.88
  3. Corey Gambardella (Indiana) – 1:43.63
  4. Connor LaMastra (Northwestern) – 1:43.91
  5. Ben Miller (Northwestern) – 1:44.35
  6. Spencer Carl (Michigan) – 1:44.87
  7. Zac Zwijacz (Penn State) – 1:45.12
  8. Elliot Cooper (Purdue) – 1:45.68

Brendan Burns of the Hoosiers dominated the final heat of the 200 fly prelims, going 1:40.36 for a new lifetime best and an A-cut. Burns, the defending champion, was more than a half-second quicker here in prelims than he was in the 200 fly final last year to win the conference crown.

Indiana could go 1-2-3 here tonight. The fourth heat went to Corey Gambardella of Indiana in 1:43.63, overtaking Northwestern’s Connor LaMastra over the final 50. LaMastra took second in 1:43.91.

In the antepenultimate heat, Indiana’s Van Mathias clocked a 1:42.88, with Northwestern’s Ben Miller in second at 1:44.35.

Last year, Gambardella, Spencer Carl (Michigan), Zac Zwijacz (Penn State), and Miller all swam in the B-final, so this year they’ve upgraded to the championship heat.

Following Indiana, NU has two A-finalists here, while Michigan, Penn State and Purdue each got one. Ohio State just missed getting one up here, as freshman Jean-Pierre Khouzam was 1:46.07, dropping six seconds from his seed time but placing ninth overall.

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ACC vs B1G vs SEC
1 year ago

Pretty clear which conference had the tightest COVID regulations in regards to training this summer/season…

Concerned Big Ten Fan
1 year ago

Haha can we get a “postpenultimate” for tomorrow’s prelims?

Former Big10
Reply to  Concerned Big Ten Fan
1 year ago

They are going to thrown down on that article

B1G Daddy
1 year ago


  • OSU: 3/7/2 (12)
  • IU: 6/2-3/1-2 (10)
  • MICH: 5/4-5/1-2 (11)
  • PUR: 2/1/5 (8)
  • NU: 3/2/1 (6)
  • PSU: 2/2/3 (7)
  • IOWA: 1/2/4 (7)
  • WISC: 1/2/3 (6)
  • MINN: 1/0/3 (4)
  • MSU: 0/0/1 (1)
Former Big10
Reply to  B1G Daddy
1 year ago

MN is in rough shape… Such a bummer what’s happened. Kelly, and the AD, need to re-evaluate. Unless this is what they want, and are trying to phase the program out.

Reply to  Former Big10
1 year ago

Will be interesting to see how the freshmen distance guys go tomorrow in the mile. Grimes has had a nice meet and at least looks like he has a really bright future. But yeah, this program seems to be losing ground every year in the conference. Hear nothing but nice things about Kremer, but is it time for new program leadership?

Former Big10
Reply to  SwimFan49
1 year ago

He’s nice, sure, but that’s not really the point of being a head coach at a, historically, top 15 program. Even the women are a shell of what they were 5 years ago. He’s gotten complacent, and it shows.

Reply to  Former Big10
1 year ago

If you look at how they (don’t) recruit, it’s not a surprise.

Reply to  Stewie
1 year ago

Honest question: are you just referring to their recruiting results (or lack thereof), or do you think it’s something about their approach to recruiting or the manner in which they recruit that leads to those results?

Former Big10
Reply to  SwimFan49
1 year ago

At this point, it’s all terribly below average. The coaching, the recruiting, etc… MN was always a team that did well with good, not great, recruits. They performed well for years, all the way up to like 2012, and it’s just fallen off the rails.
What the University has to offer, as well as the state, hasn’t really changed a whole lot. The only thing that has, are the coaches. The main coaches have been there for a decade, and the men have been on a linear negative trend since then. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out what the problem is.

Reply to  SwimFan49
1 year ago

Stewie has one son swimming Division 1 in college right now, and one starting in the fall. Oldest was a top 5 national recruit, younger ranked much lower but COVID has impacted his training and racing. Oldest wasn’t even recruited by Minnesota; younger expressed interest, but received nothing but template emails/texts during the process.

If your recruiting is reactive and apathetic, the results will reflect it. Watch how quick Bucky Badger moves past MN into the top tier of the B1G, largely due to Yuri’s proactive, enthusiastic recruiting.


Reply to  Stewie
1 year ago

Hey Stewie,

Love the enthusiasm and expert opinion. I’m a bit confused though as recruiting rankings have consistently been shown to not directly correlate to NCAA success. Take a look each year. Hopefully your top 5 son doesn’t fall victim to this! I’d personally be interested to hear if he has been able to crack into that tough NCAA A Final yet. (No sarcasm intended there- I’m truly curious now)

I agree with Former Big10- major things need to be changed. Clearly things aren’t going well there overall and they have all the tools they need to succeed.

I just think it’s hilarious that you (Stewie) bring your kids into the mix and automatically assume they were shunned because… Read more »

Reply to  Wiscofan2020
1 year ago

I’ve forgotten more about college recruiting than you’ll ever know.

Reply to  Stewie
1 year ago

Wow, how lucky are we to be graced by your presence then?! You completely missed the point but perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised.

And you must know more than me because you completely know who I am. Logical, for sure.

Who hurt you, Stewie? Hope that top 5 son is able to make top 8 this year! You didn’t brag about that in your response so I’m unsure he was able to in the past :/

tea rex
1 year ago

Wesley Jekel’s 200 IM even more impressive now. He’s gone 45.9 fly, 46.2 back, so of course he took his 200 IM out in 46.3!

Reply to  tea rex
1 year ago

Truly a beast

1 year ago

What year is Will Myhre from Iowa? Is he about to be a sub 52 breaststroke free agent?

Reply to  Willswim
1 year ago

He’s a sophomore. And yes, it appears that way.

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Oh wow! Thanks for the quick reply.

One more quick question. Is there a way to cc Jack Bauerle on a SwimSwam comment? 🤣

Former Big10
Reply to  Willswim
1 year ago

Wasn’t he pretty interested in U of Arizona?

Reply to  Former Big10
1 year ago

No but to point out that is interesting because a lot of the guys and a couple girls decided they would go go to one of the Arizona schools but I’m still not sure why that is.

Reply to  Willswim
1 year ago

The missing piece for NC State

Captain Ahab
1 year ago

I think Max McHugh and Devon Nowicki will represent team USA this summer at Tokyo 2021 Olympics in the 100 meter breaststroke.

Last edited 1 year ago by Captain Ahab
Reply to  Captain Ahab
1 year ago

I had Nowicki/Finnerty but since it seems like Ian retired I can get behind this

Coach Chackett
Reply to  Captain Ahab
1 year ago

I had to look hard to find 100 LCM performances by McHugh. Seems like he likes SCY. 1:00.99 from 7/20/2019

Reply to  Captain Ahab
1 year ago

100 scy breaststroke*

Reply to  Captain Ahab
1 year ago

Michael Andrew / Andrew Wilson

Reply to  Captain Ahab
1 year ago

That’s kind of a stretch, McHugh isn’t that good in LC

Wanna Sprite?
Reply to  Captain Ahab
1 year ago

McHugh’s strength is his pullouts so it’s not likely

Coach Macgyver
1 year ago

100 breast is stacked at this meet.

Honest Observer
1 year ago

Those 50 breast relay splits weren’t lying.

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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