2021 Big Ten Women’s Championships: Day 1 Finals Live Recap


The Big Ten Women’s Championships kick-off tonight, starting with the 200 medley relay and 800 free relay timed finals. The meet is running for 4.5 days this season due to COVID-19 protocols, and a couple of interesting wrinkles note the season; Michigan recently dealt with a two-week training, practice & competition ban due to too many positive COVID-19 tests, while Rutgers is redshirting the vast majority of its roster.

Meanwhile, Iowa and Michigan State both learned of program cuts in 2020, although the Iowa women have successfully had their program reinstated.



  • Big Ten meet record – 1:34.16, Indiana (2018)
  • Big Ten record – 1:33.89, Indiana (2018)
  • NCAA automatic qualifying time – 1:36.40
  • Defending champion: Michigan (1:34.21)

Top 3

  1. Ohio State – 1:34.46
  2. Northwestern – 1:36.20
  3. Michigan – 1:36.34

The top three teams were the only teams able to get under the automatic qualifying time for NCAAs, led by the Ohio State women in a huge victory. The Buckeyes were the class of the field, posting a 1:34.46 to rattle the meet record and win by almost two seconds over Northwestern’s 1:36.20 and Michigan’s 1:36.34.

OSU was led off by junior Emily Crane in a big 23.66, followed by Hannah Bach (26.03), Kit Kat Zenick (22.87) and Freya Rayner (21.90). Zenick is also a freshman, and the Buckeyes smashed their school record of 1:35.17. Bach, meanwhile, was blazing; her split was the #10 split in history, and she’s the #4 50 breast split in history behind Lilly King, Jorie Caneta and Kasey Carlson.

OSU is now third in the nation this season with that swim, behind only Virginia and NC State. This is the Buckeyes’ first 200 medley win since they won titles in 1982 and 1983, the first two years of conference championships history.

In second, Northwestern set a new school record, with Emma Lepisova (24.54), Sophie Angus (26.76) and Miriam Guevara (23.45) running the first three legs. Senior Maddie Smith dropped a hammer, splitting 21.45 to anchor and pass Michigan for second.

For Michigan, Maggie MacNeil dropped the fastest 50 back in history, going 23.02 to edge her own 23.05. They were only 28.33 with freshman Claire Tuttle on the breaststroke leg, giving up the lead by the breast-to-fly exchange, though Olivia Carter (23.26) and Daria Pyshnenko (21.73) were strong on the back-end to get the Wolverines an auto cut for NCAAs.

In the third heat, Indiana posted a 1:37, but was disqualified for their backstrokers’ toes being above the gutter on the start. Penn State broke through for a fourth-place finish at 1:38.14, getting a 21.88 anchor from Madeleine Cooke, while Wisconsin also went under 1:39 for fifth (1:38.65) without using their star freshman Phoebe Bacon.


  • Big Ten meet record – 6:54.58, Michigan (2019)
  • Big Ten record – 6:50.03, Michigan (2018)
  • NCAA automatic qualifying time – 7:00.86
  • Defending champion: Wisconsin (6:55.84)

Top 3

  1. Michigan 7:02.22
  2. Indiana 7:02.62
  3. Ohio State 7:03.76

In heat three, Wisconsin got two very strong front legs from Lillie Hosack (1:45.03) and freshman Phoebe Bacon (1:45.75). Michigan hit back with a big 1:44.24 from sophomore Megan Glass, and Sierra Schmidt anchored in 1:46.01 to push Michigan past Wisconsin, as well as the top two teams from heat two, Indiana and Ohio State.

Michigan freshman Sophie Housey was 1:45.46 leading off, a lifetime best by almost two seconds and her first best in that event since way back in 2018. Wisconsin finished second in the heat at 7:04.91, good for fourth overall.

In heat two of three, Indiana and Ohio State battled it out. The two teams were pretty even all race, but Indiana anchor Noelle Peplowski was too strong on the final leg, pushing IU ahead of the Buckeyes, 7:02.62 to 7:03.76. IU had a 1:45.33 lead-off from freshman Ella Ristic, a 1:45.19 second leg from senior Josie Grote, a 1:46.20 third leg from senior Abby Kirkpatrick and a 1:45.90 from anchor Peplowski.

Kristen Romano was 1:45.42 leading off for OSU, who also got 1:45.7’s from sophomore Amy Fulmer and Kit Kat Zenick.

Northwestern was the only other team under 7:10, going 7:06.00. Ally Larson led off in 1:45.60, a best by over a second, while freshmen Annika Wagner (1:46.09) and Selen Ozbilen (1:47.01) made up the back-half of the relay. Their time marked a school record, their second of the night.

Down in seventh was Nebraska in 7:14.12, getting one of the best lead-offs in the field (1:45.48).


  1. Ohio State University/Michigan 118
  2. Northwestern 106
  3. Wisconsin 102
  4. Penn State 96/Minnesota 96
  5. Nebraska 92
  6. Iowa 84
  7. Michigan State 70
  8. Purdue 68
  9. Illinois 64
  10. Indiana 56
  11. Rutgers 30

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1 year ago

Go, Northwestern, go!! Great start to the meet 🙂

1 year ago

Do they post a psych sheet?

Reply to  swimmom
1 year ago
1 year ago

O look, another year where OSU will swim well at conference champs and then most of their swimmers will add at NCAAs…

Reply to  CraigH
1 year ago

Swimming….”Look at those suckers doing well at their conference championship meet. Bunch of try hards.”

And we wonder why our sport struggles with interest, resources, etc.

Reply to  Coach
1 year ago

I know…clueless.

Reply to  CraigH
1 year ago

Why can’t people look for/say positive things about people? It’s a cancer that is eroding our country. More and more people just look for the worst in everything. Thumper’s mother was a wise rabbit…”If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Let’s ALL try to live by that, shall we?

John Staubi
1 year ago

Toes above the gutter “at” the start is not a DQ because the starter must insure toes are not in an illegal starting position. Did the writers here mean “after” the start?

Samuli Hirsi
Reply to  John Staubi
1 year ago

the judge comments on the infraction but if the swimmer does not care judge disqualifies after race

“SW 6.1 Prior to the starting signal, the swimmers shall line up in the water facing the starting end, with both hands holding the starting grips. Standing in or on the gutter or bending the toes over the lip of the gutter is prohibited. When using a backstroke ledge at the start, the toes of both feet must be in contact with the end wall or face of the touchpad. Bending the toes over the top of the touchpad is prohibited.”

1 year ago

Some great swims!
As mentioned in the article, some big time drops in the 200 Free for Sophie and Megan… looking forward to seeing how the individual 200 Free stacks up.

P Laughlin
1 year ago

Psych sheets anywhere?

Reply to  P Laughlin
1 year ago

Big Ten never releases psych sheets.

Swimfan dad
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Why is that?

Reply to  Swimfan dad
1 year ago

Because their entries aren’t due until 6pm for the following days events.

1 year ago

What do any of the IU worshippers have to say about their DQ?

Reply to  thezwimmer
1 year ago

Nobody is perfect and everybody makes mistakes @thezwimmer, IU will bounce back the rest of the meet in a huge way. Coach Looze and his staff has these ladies ready and you shall realize this very soon!!! Go Hoosiers!!!

Reply to  HoosierDaddy
1 year ago

You tell them, Daddy!

Reply to  thezwimmer
1 year ago

It’s a tough break for the IU ladies, but remember…it’s a marathon and not a sprint and the Hoosiers did a great job on the 800 Free relay. One time when I was at my lowest point in my life both personally and professionally, my good friend and spiritual adviser, GOAT Coach Ray Looze, gave me some good advice that I’ll never forget. He said, “May in your darkest hour you discover your true strength of the brilliant light within you that can never, EVER, be dimmed.” I live by Ray’s quote every time I have a setback and I always come out for the better. I’m sure he and the coaches motivated the girls after the relay setback and… Read more »

Reply to  Guerra
1 year ago

This is pure Guerra

1 year ago

OSU was quite a bit faster than last year (1:35.17) in the 200 medley relay, can they repeat? Northwestern a bit faster than last year too (1:36.37). Impressive split from MacNeil also. Excited for the team battle.

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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