2022 Women’s B1G Championships: Day 2 Prelims Live Recap


After Ohio State swept the relays on opening night, we come into the second day of action at the 2022 Women’s Big Ten Championships with the Buckeyes holding an early 18-point advantage over Michigan.

OSU’s got two of the three defending champions in today’s swimming events, with seniors Sally Tafuto and Kristen Romano aiming to repeat in the 500 free and 200 IM, respectively. Tafuto does lead the conference this season in the 500 free, while Romano only ranks 18th in the 200 IM as Wisconsin sophomore Phoebe Bacon leads the pack.

In the 50 free, it’s all about Michigan senior Maggie MacNeil, the reigning national champion and three-time defending Big Ten champion.

MacNeil leads the conference with a time of 21.50 this season, with Northwestern’s Jasmine Nocentini (21.92) the only other woman sub-22.

Women’s 500 Free – Prelims

  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 4:35.76
  • 2021 NCAA Invite Time: 4:44.47
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut: 4:47.20
  • Meet Record: 4:34.40, G Ryan (MICH), 2017
  • Conference Record: 4:34.28, G Ryan (MICH), 2016
  1. Paige McKenna (WISC), 4:40.31
  2. Lola Mull (NU), 4:40.80
  3. Kathryn Ackerman (MICH), 4:41.88
  4. Ching Hwee Gan (IU), 4:42.96
  5. Maya Geringer (OSU), 4:43.09
  6. Mariah Denigan (IU), 4:43.16
  7. Abby Carlson (WISC), 4:44.55
  8. Ella Ristic (IU), 4:44.72

Wisconsin freshman Paige McKenna made her presence felt in her first career Big Ten Championship swim, lowering her two-year-old best time to claim the top seed in the 500 free prelims.

McKenna, whose fastest swim this season had been 4:43.93, clocked in at 4:40.31 to down her 2020 PB of 4:40.38 and advance first into tonight’s final. McKenna’s time also makes her the fastest Big Ten swimmer this season, overtaking Ohio State’s Sally Tafuto, who shockingly misses the final as the defending champion.

Tafuto, who was swimming alongside McKenna in Heat 9, got overtaken on the last 100 by Indiana sophomore Ella Ristic and ended up placing ninth overall in 4:45.01, well off her season-best of 4:40.49.

Northwestern’s Lola Mull dropped a massive best time from the first circle-seeded heat to qualify second in 4:40.80, having previously been 4:43.35 way back in 2017. Mull’s fastest time this season coming in was 4:43.89.

Michigan second-year Kathryn Ackerman took second to Mull in that heat in 4:41.88, good for third overall, while Indiana freshman Ching Hwee Gan, who only joined the team last month, demolished the non-circle-seeded sixth heat by dropping eight seconds and qualifying fourth in 4:42.96.

The field will be made up entirely of first and second-year swimmers, as Indiana’s Mariah Denigan (4:43.16) and Wisconsin’s Abby Carlson (4:44.55) advance in sixth and seventh as freshmen and OSU’s Maya Geringer (4:43.09) and IU’s Ristic (4:44.72) go through in fifth and eighth as sophomores.

Joining Tafuto as notable names missing the ‘A’ final included last year’s runner-up Kaitlynn Sims of Michigan and Nebraska’s Autumn Haebig. Sims placed 16th in 4:47.43, while Haebig, who had been 4:44.04 earlier this season, was 4:45.43 for 10th.

Women’s 200 IM – Prelims

  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:53.66
  • 2021 NCAA Invite Time: 1:57.62
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut: 1:59.94
  • Meet Record: 1:51.66, Beata Nelson (WIS), 2020
  • Conference Record: 1:50.79, Beata Nelson (WIS), 2019
  1. Megan Van Berkom (MINN), 1:55.87
  2. Kristen Romano (OSU), 1:55.93
  3. Noelle Peplowski (IU), 1:55.96
  4. Olivia Carter (MICH), 1:56.07
  5. Phoebe Bacon (WISC), 1:56.41
  6. Mackenzie Looze (IU), 1:56.72
  7. Jenna Silvestri (WISC), 1:57.04
  8. Victoria Kwan (MICH), 1:57.30

Minnesota sophomore Megan Van Berkom used a quick 27.69 freestyle split to pull away from last season’s runner-up Phoebe Bacon and win the eighth and final heat of the women’s 200 IM in 1:55.87, qualifying first in tonight’s final.

Van Berkom, who was only 35th in this event last season as a freshman, blows by her previous best time of 1:56.48, set at the Minnesota Invitational in early December. Coming into this season her best time stood at 2:01.50 from January 2020.

Defending champion Kristen Romano secured victory in the penultimate heat to advance second overall in 1:55.93, edging out Indiana’s Noelle Peplowski (1:55.96). Romano’s time was a sizeable season-best, while Peplowski’s marked a new PB after previously having been 1:56.29 at this meet last season (where she was fourth).

Bacon, who was the fastest swimmer through the 100-yard mark at 53.23, ended up qualifying fifth in 1:56.41, while Michigan senior Olivia Carter topped the first circle-seeded heat to take fourth in 1:56.07.

Wisconsin senior Jenna Silvestri engineered a big drop to make the final in seventh, clocking 1:57.04 to destroy her previous best of 1:58.88 set back at the 2020 Big Tens. Last season Silvestri finished 18th in 1:58.89.

Michigan first-year Letitia Sim, who came in as the conference’s second-fastest swimmer this season at 1:55.99, added a bit of time and ends up relegated to the ‘B’ final in 10th, finishing in 1:57.76.

Women’s 50 Free – Prelims

  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 21.66
  • 2021 NCAA Invite Time: 22.32
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut: 22.76
  • Meet Record: 21.28, Zhesi Li (OSU), 2018
  • Conference Record: 21.17, Maggie MacNeil (MICH), 2021
  1. Maggie MacNeil (MICH), 21.60
  2. Jasmine Nocentini (NU), 21.80
  3. Amy Fulmer (OSU), 21.89
  4. Katherine Zenick (OSU) / Lindsay Flynn (MICH), 22.05
  5. Lillie Hosack (WISC), 22.15
  6. Claire Newman (MICH), 22.17
  7. Maddie Smith (NU), 22.23

Three-time defending champion Maggie MacNeil smoothly put up the top time of the morning in the 50 freestyle, clocking in at 21.60 to fall a tenth outside of her season-best set at the Minnesota Invitational (21.50).

Northwestern sophomore Jasmine Nocentini improved her personal best for the second time in the last three weeks, touching in 21.80 to advance into the final second overall. Nocentini previously broke 22 seconds for the first time last month in 21.92.

Ohio State’s Amy Fulmer became the conference’s third swimmer sub-22 this season in 21.89, dipping well under her previous best time of 22.24 set in November.

Michigan freshman Lindsay Flynn hit a season-best of 22.05 to tie with OSU’s Katherine Zenick for fourth, with Zenick’s time marking a new PB (previously 22.20). Flynn, who had been 22.12 this season, set a PB of 22.03 back in high school (December 2020).

Northwestern’s Maddie Smith, the 2021 runner-up, squeaked into the final in eighth at 22.23, edging out a trio of freshmen in Hannah Cornish (22.30), Teresa Ivan (22.30) and Sophie Fiske (22.31).

Women’s 1-Meter Diving – Prelims

  • Meet Record: 370.30, Kelci Bryant (MINN), 2011
  • Conference Record: 370.30, Kelci Bryant (MINN), 2011
  1. Sarah Bacon (MINN), 329.30
  2. Joy Zhu (MINN), 308.35
  3. Kristen Hayden (IU), 306.95
  4. Anne Fowler (IU), 304.40
  5. Emily Pfeiffer (PURD), 294.10
  6. Abigail Knapton (RUT), 286.10
  7. Tarrin Gilliland (IU), 285.55
  8. Allie Klein (MICH), 276.75

Minnesota senior Sarah Bacon unsurprisingly put up the top score of the 1-meter diving prelims at 329.30, having won three consecutive NCAA titles in the event dating back to 2018.

Indiana had a good showing with four divers advancing through to ‘A’ finals, which should help the Hoosiers charge back into the top-three in the team race after Wisconsin was projected to overtake them based on this morning’s swimming results.

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Lil Swimmy
2 years ago


2 years ago

Is something going on with Ashley Strouse? She has been well off form these last 3 years

Reply to  Elle
2 years ago

She’s currently recovering from a surgery, so all considering she is swimming great. And has many more years to dominate!!

Reply to  Elle
2 years ago

I heard she broke both of her elbows at the same time earlier in December too!

Reply to  JJM
2 years ago

Poor thing, hope she gets back to form! She did great tonight in the 500!

2 years ago


2 years ago

Does anyone know where we can find a heat sheet?

Reply to  rememberwhen
2 years ago

We’ve asked, but no response yet.

Sam B
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

Somewhat related Is there a reason for the 2021 Minnesota invitational (articles) to point to the 2022 First Chance meet psych sheets?

Sam B
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

those Gophers 🙂 Thanks!

2 years ago

psych sheets? heat sheets? anything?

Reply to  swimfan
2 years ago

Nada. We’ve asked, but no response yet.

Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

Just got them, adding them to the recap now.

B1G fan
Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

Thank you. The exhibition swims make this super interesting. If an exhibition swimmer finishes top 24, do they get to come back tonight? Or does the slower non-exhibition person jump over them to final?

phelp's dog
Reply to  B1G fan
2 years ago

exhibition swimmers cannot make it back even if they go an A final time.

Reply to  B1G fan
2 years ago

Exhibition swimmers do not swim in finals.

Reply to  B1G fan
2 years ago

Exhibition swimmers get jumped.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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