2021 Big Ten Women’s Championships: Day 2 Finals Live Recap


  • When: Tuesday, February 23rd to Saturday, February 27th | Prelims 11am | Finals 6:30pm (5pm Tuesday) CT
  • Where: Minneapolis, MN (Central Time Zone) / Diving @ Purdue University
  • Defending Champion: Ohio State (1x) (results)
  • Live Results
  • Streaming: Big Ten Network
  • Championship Central

It’s not even the start of day two finals, but Ohio State looks like they’re running away with this one at an alarming rate. The Buckeyes dominated this morning’s session, and project to score roughly 150 more points than the next-best team, Indiana.

Maggie MacNeil is the class of the field in the 50 free, but the 200 IM and 500 free are very crowded in A-finals without a clear favorite. Meanwhile, as we see the 1-meter diving and 400 medley relay finals run, the team race between Indiana, Michigan, Northwestern and Wisconsin will start to become clearer. The 400 medley relay should be a blockbuster event, too, between the top five teams.



  • Big Ten meet record – 1:51.66, Beata Nelson (Wisconsin) – 2019
  • Big Ten record – 1:50.79, Beata Nelson (Wisconsin) 2019
  • 2020 NCAA invite time – 1:57.31
  • Defending champion: Beata Nelson (Wisconsin), 1:51.66

Top 3

  1. Kristen Romano (Ohio State) – 1:54.19
  2. Phoebe Bacon (Wisconsin) – 1:55.55
  3. Olivia Carter (Michigan) – 1:56.32

Wisconsin freshman Phoebe Bacon and Ohio State senior Kristen Romano battled in the 200 IM final, with Romano taking a lead after the breaststroke. From there, Romano took it home strong and collected the big win at 1:54.19, moving to #5 in the nation right now. That’s a shiny new OSU record for Romano, taking down Meg Bailey’s 1:56.05 from 2018, while the senior destroyed her old best by over two full seconds.

Michigan junior Olivia Carter collected the bronze at 1:56.32, while IU touched in fourth and fifth with Noelle Peplowski (1:57.05) and Mac Looze (1:57.16).

In the B-final, Josephine Panitz dropped a second from prelims for the win at 1:58.46, the OSU sophomore getting ahead of Iowa sophomore Mallory Jump (1:58.93). Jump hit a lifetime best.


  • Big Ten meet record – 21.28, Zhesi Li (Ohio State) – 2018
  • Big Ten record – 21.28, Zhesi Li (Ohio State) – 2018
  • 2020 NCAA invite time – 22.21
  • Defending champion: Maggie MacNeil (Michigan), 21.30

Top 3

  1. Maggie MacNeil (Michigan) – 21.44
  2. Daria Pyshnenko (Michigan) – 21.88
  3. Maddie Smith (Northwestern) – 21.94

The whole podium went under 22 tonight in the 50 free, led by defending champion Maggie MacNeil at 21.44, just off of her lifetime best of 21.30. Contrary to the prelims, she did not negative split this race, going 10.63/10.81. MacNeil moves to #2 in the country.

Out of lane eight, Daria Pyshnenko of Michigan made it a Wolverine 1-2 finish with a second-place time of 21.88, just off of a best. Northwestern senior Maddie Smith broke 22 for the first time in her career, blasting a 21.94 to snag third and make the podium. Last year, Smith was 27th in prelims and missed finals altother. She also set a new NU record after breaking it this morning with her 22.06.

Ohio State took literally all five of the other spots in the A-final, led by senior Taylor Petrak at 22.06.

In the B-final, Indiana sophomore Ashley Turak nabbed the win at 22.26.


  • Big Ten meet record – 4:34.40, G Ryan (Michigan) – 2017
  • Big Ten record – 4:34.28, G Ryan (Michigan) – 2017
  • 2020 NCAA invite time – 4:41.20
  • Defending champion: Kathrin Demler (Ohio State), 4:37.04
  1. Sally Tafuto (Ohio State) – 4:39.58
  2. Kaitlynn Sims (Michigan) – 4:40.29
  3. Ella Ristic (Indiana) – 4:42.06

Kaitlynn Sims had the lead going into the final stretch, but Ohio State’s Sally Tafuto had building momentum on her side. Tafuto, holding 28-lows after the first 50, dipped to a 27.8 on the penultimate 50 and then a big 26.9 on the final 50, splitting a 54.77 to virtually match her first 100, with 56s in-between; really impressive splitting from her.

Tafuto now ranks #9 in the country in a tie with Stanford’s Brooke Forde.

Sims, who was 4:37.31 at this meet last year, tried to pull away with 27.9s on both 50s of the fourth 100, but she went up to 28.1 and then was only 27.9 on the last 50, running out of gas at the end. Sims was still 4:40.29, climbing to 14th nationally.

IU finished third and fourth here, as freshman Ella Ristic (4:42.06) took an additional 1.6 seconds off of her previous best; she was 4:46.68 pre-meet, then 4:43.72 in prelims. Senior Josie Grote was fourth in 4:43.16.

Nebraska senior Autumn Haebig touched fifth in 4:43.30, while sixth went to Wisconsin freshman Emily Ecker, who sliced another 1.8 seconds off of her best with a 4:43.66. Ecker was 4:45.52 in prelims and 4:49.59 pre-meet.

Ohio State freshman Maya Geringer and Northwestern freshman Lola Mull went 1-2 in the B-final, going respective times of 4:44.74 and 4:45.87. Geringer’s 4:46.38 from prelims was her first time under 4:50, and she drops that down even more here.


  • Big Ten meet record – 370.30, Kelci Bryant (Minnesota) – 2011
  • Big Ten record – 370.30, Kelci Bryant (Minnesota) – 2011
  • Defending champion: Mackenzie Crawford (Ohio State), 320.65


  • Big Ten meet record – 3:26.09, Indiana – 2018
  • Big Ten record – 3:26.60, Indiana – 2019
  • NCAA automatic qualifying standard – 3:31.66
  • Defending champion: Michigan, 3:27.68
  1. Ohio State – 3:29.39
  2. Northwestern – 3:29.58
  3. Michigan – 3:29.84

In the penultimate heat, Ohio State threw down a 3:29.39, a time that would hold up at the end of the heats. Emily Crane had a 51.85 leading off for OSU, followed by a 57.49 from sophomore Hannah Bach, a 52.52 from senior Katie Trace and a 47.52 anchor from senior Taylor Petrak.

In a very tight battle in the last heat, Northwestern topped Michigan, 3:29.58 to 3:29.84. Michigan had a 50.08 lead-off from Maggie MacNeil, just off of her lifetime best, and 200 backstroke specialist Mariella Venter turned in a respectable 1:00.88 on the breast leg. Emma Lepisova was 52.87 leading off for NU, but Sophie Angus dropped a 57.77 to pull NU ahead going into the fly. Olivia Carter was 51.36 to Miriam Guevara‘s 51.94, giving Michigan back the edge, but Maddie Smith had a heroic 47.00 anchor leg for the Wildcats to pull ahead of Daria Pyshnenko (47.52).

Smith was 21.91 going out on the first 50 of her anchor leg for the Wildcats. The top three times punched NCAA tickets with automatic qualifying cuts.

Wisconsin touched fourth in 3:33.96, getting a 51.49 lead-off from Phoebe Bacon. Rutgers didn’t enter a relay, and Penn State didn’t finish the race, their butterflier not diving in after allegedly slipping on deck moments prior.

TEAM SCORES (through 400 medley relay)

  1. Ohio State University 526
  2. Michigan, University of 358.5
  3. Indiana University 310.5
  4. Northwestern University 258
  5. Wisconsin, University of, Madi 237
  6. University of Nebraska-Lincoln 184
  7. Iowa, University of 169
  8. University of Minnesota 164
  9. Pennsylvania State University 149
  10. Purdue University 120
  11. Michigan State University 104
  12. University of Illinois 96
  13. Rutgers University 30

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1 year ago

Veronica or Sally Tafuto?

Reply to  Jackman
1 year ago

Legal name “Veronica”. Always been called “Sally” since she was a baby (name started by her older sister, Vivian, who is a recent UVA graduate and swimmer).

1 year ago

Solid night for the IU Hoosiers. Proud of them and all the other Big 10 schools. It’s been a tough year to be a college kid and I’m happy these great young people can experience the joy of competing as a team and celebrate their hard word and perseverance.

Swim Coach
1 year ago

Penn State took a hit on that relay mishap!

Reply to  Swim Coach
1 year ago

What happened? It just says DNF on the results.

Swim Coach
Reply to  Coach
1 year ago

Butterflier never dove in. Not sure, only saw 3 girls behind the block.

Working Swim Mom
Reply to  Coach
1 year ago

Third relay swimmer slipped on the deck and fell. She was injured, maybe dislocated shoulder. Fingers crossed she’s okay.

Swim Coach
Reply to  Working Swim Mom
1 year ago

Yikes. Don’t run on pool decks ladies and gentlemen

Mediocre Swammer
Reply to  Swim Coach
1 year ago

I’ve never run on the pool deck and I’ve fallen (hard) multiple times, though never sustained any injury other than a nasty bruise. Some pool decks are just incredibly slippery. I hate them.

Reply to  Working Swim Mom
1 year ago

That’s awful news. Very sorry to hear it.

Reply to  Working Swim Mom
1 year ago

Yikes. How terrible. Hope she’s OK, too.

1 year ago

Billy Dorenkott, Dorsey Tierney and the rest of the OSU coaching staff are getting it done. Excellent recruiting and coaching. They could really make some noise at NCAAs.

Reply to  Guerra
1 year ago

true story!
your new GOAT obsessions?

Reply to  sorry
1 year ago

Nope. I love Bill and have always been a big fan of his. He coached my swimmers at Ashland University, Penn State and OSU and did a great job with them and took care of them like they were his own family. To me though, Ray will always be my GOAT Coach, mentor, good friend and spiritual advisor.

1 year ago

Come on Gophers! Let’s go 😁

Reply to  Mnswim
1 year ago

yeah, boy … can’t imagine that was the start MN was looking for. I mean, but for PSU’s relay mishap, they’d be in 9th place. They trail another program whose administration tried to eliminate them. Let’s go!

Last edited 1 year ago by SwimFan49
1 year ago

Damn Ohio state really knows how to hit a mean taper

1 year ago


1 year ago

I feel like Ohio State are a little underrated on the national level, or maybe it’s just me. When it comes to big time swim programs, I don’t have OSU in the same historical echelon as like Indiana, Texas, Florida, Stanford, Michigan, Auburn, etc.

Reply to  PVSFree
1 year ago

They typically do well at Big Tens but not really NCAAs

Reply to  PVSFree
1 year ago

They’re built, at least this year, for a conference meet win. For example only maybe one or two of their five A-finalists in the 50 free would score at NCs, and it would very likely be in the B-final, where as two 21s from Michigan would get two A-finalists (probably) and a lot of points at NCs

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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