2021 Big Ten Women’s Championships: Day 5 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

As we enter our final day of competition, a sleepy prelims session predicts an even bigger lead tonight for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Meanwhile, Michigan is safe in second, and Indiana looks to have a leg up on a Northwestern team that’s been chasing the Hoosiers all week.

After a three-decade-plus drought, Ohio State is going to make it two consecutive Big Ten titles tonight, establishing themselves as the new conference powerhouse (at least Big Ten season-wise).



  • Big Ten Meet Record: 46.57 – Maggie MacNeil (Michigan) – 2020
  • Big Ten Record: 46.57 – Maggie MacNeil (Michigan) – 2020
  • 2020 NCAA invite time – 48.51
  • Defending Champion: Maggie MacNeil (Michigan) – 46.57

Top 3

  1. Maggie MacNeil (Michigan) – 47.36
  2. Maddie Smith (Northwestern)/Daria Pyshnenko (Michigan) – 47.98

Maggie MacNeil added her third win of the week, off of her own Big Ten record but successfully defending her 100 free title with a 47.36.

The battle for second was incredibly tight, as Michigan senior Daria Pyshnenko finished at 47.98, tying with Northwestern senior Maddie Smith. For Smith, that’s a lifetime best and her first time under 48, while she takes down her own NU record. Third went to OSU senior Taylor Petrak, who was just .01 behind them at 47.99, while Indiana’s Ashley Turak turned in a 48.60 for fifth.


  • Big Ten Meet Record: 15:43.17 – Molly Kowal (Ohio State) – 2020
  • Big Ten Record: 15:36.27 – Ally McHugh (Penn State) – 2019
  • 2020 NCAA invite time – 16:17.45
  • Defending Champion: Molly Kowal (Ohio State), 15:43.17

Top 8 (before final heat swum with finals)

  1. Sally Tafuto (Ohio State) – 16:08.40
  2. Maya Geringer (Ohio State) – 16:13.58
  3. Maggie Wallace (Indiana) – 16:15.19
  4. Caroline Sisson (Michigan) – 16:15.74
  5. Josie Grote (Indiana) – 16:16.38
  6. Alivia Lindorfer (Wisconsin) – 16:31.60
  7. Abigail Kilgallon (Minnesota) – 16:31.83
  8. Madison Murtagh (Penn State) – 16:32.39

Top 8 (including all heats)

  1. Kaitlynn Sims (Michigan) – 15:59.70
  2. Sierra Schmidt (Michigan) – 16:08.23
  3. Lola Mull (Northwestern) – 16:08.33
  4. Sally Tafuto (Ohio State) – 16:08.40
  5. Maya Geringer (Ohio State) – 16:13.58
  6. Maggie Wallace (Indiana) – 16:15.19
  7. Caroline Sisson (Michigan) – 16:15.74
  8. Emily Ecker (Wisconsin) – 16:16.23

In the early heats, Ohio State and Indiana made a mark, each getting two women under 16:20, led by Sally Tafuto of the Buckeyes at 16:08.40. That’s a fantastic swim for Tafuto, a lifetime best by over five seconds, and a time that might even win based on how the rest of the conference has looked in distance this week. The Hoosiers’ Maggie Wallace (16:15.19) and Josie Grote (16:16.38) look like they’ll finish well and possibly in the top eight, which is crucial in the IU-NU battle for third.

Northwestern has two in the final heat, and Indiana none, though these are timed finals and swimmers in the last heat are not guaranteed a top-eight finish for points. Northwestern freshman Erika Chen is the other swimmer from the Wildcats/Hoosiers definitely on-pace to score, as she was 15th in the early heat with a lifetime best 16:46.27 and can finish no lower than 23rd.

In the final heat, Kaitlynn Sims roared to the win, breaking 16 minutes with a 15:59.70. Her teammate Sierra Schmidt was second in 16:08.23, while Northwestern freshman Lola Mull snagged third in 16:08.33, just ahead of Tafuto’s early heat leading time. Mull, who was off of her bests this weekend in her other events, went a best by almost four seconds, her first best since 2018.


  • Big Ten Meet Record: 1:48.47 – Beata Nelson (Wisconsin) – 2019
  • Big Ten Record: 1:47.24 – Beata Nelson (Wisconsin) – 2019
  • 2020 NCAA invite time – 1:53.99
  • Defending Champion: Beata Nelson (Wisconsin), 1:48.73

Top 3

  1. Phoebe Bacon (Wisconsin) – 1:50.90
  2. Kristen Romano (Ohio State) – 1:53.18
  3. Emma Lepisova (Northwestern) – 1:53.62

Wisconsin freshman Phoebe Bacon went flying out on the first 100, splitting 52.9 at the 100 mark. She ran away with the race, hitting a 1:50.90 under the flags to win by over two seconds, coming just .19 off of her lifetime best.

Ohio State’s Kristen Romano was just shy of a triple win, putting down a 1:53.18 to improve upon her sixth-place outing at this meet last year. In third was Northwestern’s Emma Lepisova in 1:53.62, able to hold off Indiana senior Bailey Kovac (1:54.07).


  • Big Ten Meet Record: 2:04.03 – Lilly King (Indiana) – 2017
  • Big Ten Record: 2:02.90 – Lilly King (Indiana) – 2019
  • 2020 NCAA invite time – 2:10.12
  • Defending Champion: Calypso Sheridan (Northwestern), 2:06.85

Top 3

  1. Emily Weiss (Indiana) – 2:07.20
  2. Noelle Peplowski (Indiana) – 2:07.61
  3. Hannah Brunzell (Northwestern) – 2:08.07

This race was a grudge match between Indiana and Northwestern, as each had three swimmers up in this A-final.

Emily Weiss of Indiana was 1:01.24 in the first 100, leading the way, and she held off the rest of the field with a big 2:07.20. She led a 1-2 finish with Noelle Peplowski (2:07.61), as Weiss slashed a half-second off of her lifetime best after she was off in the 100 earlier this week.

Northwestern’s Hannah Brunzell settled for third, going 2:08.07 and slicing a couple of tenths off of her old best. Indiana’s Mackenzie Looze was fourth in 2:08.62 and NU’s Sophie Angus fifth in 2:08.63. That was a massive swim for Looze, nabbing her first performance under 2:11, while Angus shaved a couple of tenths from her old best.


  • 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

Top 3

  1. Abigail Knapton (Nebraska) – 339.15
  2. Anne Fowler (Indiana) – 326.40
  3. Sara Troyer (Nebraska) – 319.35

Indiana picked up huge points here, finishing second and fourth, while Nebraska’s Abigail Knapton snagged the 1-meter title with a score of 339.15.

Going into the final relay, the top five teams are pretty much locked. Minnesota is only 4.5 points ahead of Nebraska in sixth, though, while Iowa leads Purdue by just 20 and Purdue is ahead of Penn State by only six.


  • Big Ten Meet Record: 3:10.29, Michigan – 2019
  • Big Ten Record: 3:08.07, Michigan – 2019
  • NCAA automatic qualifying cut – 3:14.61
  • Defending Champion: Michigan, 3:11.94

Top 3

  1. Michigan – 3:11.61
  2. Ohio State – 3:12.90
  3. Northwestern – 3:14.35

Maggie MacNeil was 47.47 leading off for Michigan, but Ohio State and Northwestern closed the gap on the second leg.

Michigan put Daria Pyshnenko in the third leg (47.68), giving them the lead as Olivia Carter took over, using impressive underwaters to seal the deal. Carter was 47.93 on the anchor, a huge leg for the butterfly/IM specialist, while Megan Glass put down a 48.53 on the second leg.

Ohio State picked up the silver, with freshman Kit Kat Zenick at 47.99 on the third leg and Kristen Romano anchoring in 48.61. The Buckeyes hit a new school record with that swim.

Northwestern pulled in for third, as freshman Selen Ozbilen went a lifetime best 48.57 on the first leg and Maddie Smith closed out her big meet with a 47.78 as they broke another school record.


  1. Ohio State – 1584
  2. Michigan – 1326.5
  3. Indiana – 1066.5
  4. Northwestern – 992
  5. Wisconsin – 749.5
  6. Minnesota – 555
  7. Nebraska – 542.5
  8. Iowa – 424
  9. Purdue – 414
  10. Penn State – 410
  11. Michigan State – 217
  12. Ilinois – 177
  13. Rutgers – 60

In This Story

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Cindy Rowe
3 years ago

Congratulations, Maggie!!! Can’t wait to see you swim at 🇨🇦 Trials!! 😊💕

3 years ago

We want Conner McHugh back!

Big ten
3 years ago

What happened to Rutgers?

Reply to  Big ten
3 years ago

They only had a few swimmers on campus this season.


They didn’t even wind up swimming all 5 relays.

Angry Goose
Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Braden – any idea as to location and dates for 2022 Big10 Women’s Championships?

3 years ago

I’m confused by some of this stream. I think they occasionally just play random audio clips, and they keep muting and unmuting the pool deck audio.

Swim Coach
Reply to  N P
3 years ago

It’s just so bad all around. Sometimes it’s rewinding, in the 200bk final all we saw was phoebe bacon (not that I don’t love her, but I like to watch swimming), it’s cutting out, the announcers have to repeat what they are saying, and so much more. It’s just bad!

Angry Goose
Reply to  Swim Coach
3 years ago

Worst production quality ever…. embarrassing for the Big Ten. Bring back the amateurs from the first 4 nights.

Brutal camera work. Bad angles. Commentators could not be worse. Shockingly bad

Swim Coach
3 years ago

This camera work is crap, if you actually want to watch swimming.

Reply to  Swim Coach
3 years ago

Phew… I thought I had too much whiskey already and was seeing things!

Last edited 3 years ago by Guerra
Swim Coach
Reply to  Guerra
3 years ago

It is so bad in so many ways!! I don’t know why they changed it just for tonight, but it’s not working well whatsoever!

Danny Kovac’s Left Calf Muscle
3 years ago

Bailey Kovac has a beautiful backstroke!

Coach Chackett
3 years ago

Fix some of the records. I like Maggie McNeil but she didn’t go on 46 in the 1650 FR

Reply to  Coach Chackett
3 years ago

Nor is calypso Sheridan the defending champ in the 400 free relay…

3 years ago

these technical difficulties are so funny they keep changing the shot and talking about their setup with hot mics

Reply to  frizzaly
3 years ago

no commentary in the first four minutes of the 1650 I think they have their mic switch backwards

Reply to  frizzaly
3 years ago

I heard no commentary at all during the mile, haha.

Reply to  N P
3 years ago

I thought they had figured it out because we could hear them talking between events but as soon as the 200 back starts it goes quiet again

Reply to  frizzaly
3 years ago

Finally they got it!

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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