2023 Men’s Big Ten Championships: Day 1 Finals Live Recap

by Robert Gibbs 17

February 22nd, 2023 College, News, Previews & Recaps


The 2023 edition of the Big Ten Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships starts tonight in Ann Arbor with timed finals of the 200 medley and 800 freestyle relays. The Ohio State Buckeyes are the defending champions in the 200 medley relay, an event in which they set the meet and conference records here last year. The Indiana Hoosiers come into today with the fastest time in the conference this season, with a 1:24.09 from the Ohio State Invite.

Meanwhile, the Hoosiers are the defending champions and the conference record-holders in the 800 free relay, but Minnesota leads the Big Ten in the 800 free really so far this season after having gone 6:16.25 at their own Minnesota Invite.

Men’s 200 Medley Relay – Timed Finals

  • NCAA Record: 1:21.13, Florida – 2022 NCAA Championships
  • Big Ten Record: 1:22.13, Ohio State – 2022 Big Ten Championships
  • Big Ten Championship Record: 1:22.13, Ohio State – 2022
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:23.76

Top 8:

  1. Ohio State – 1:23.03
  2. Michigan – 1:23.07
  3. Indiana – 1:23.52
  4. Purdue – 1:23.86
  5. Wisconsin – 1:23.92
  6. Minnesota – 1:24.21
  7. Northwestern – 1:25.66
  8. Penn State – 1:25.89

The Buckeyes defended their title this event in a classic race that came down to mere hundredths of a second, as Ohio State and Michigan battled stroke for stroke from soup to nuts.

Backstrokers Wyatt Davis (Michigan) and Alex Quach (OSU) flipped at the 25 at the exact time, but Davis got his hand on the wall just ahead, 20.87 to 20.96. Ohio State then took a 0.06s lead on a 23.49 breast split from Pete Krusinski, while Brendan Fitzpatrick split 23.64 for the Wolverines. Gal Cohen Groumi regained the lead for Michigan with a 19.92 fly leg against a 20.02 for James Ward. Only 0.04s separated the two teams as the anchor legs dove into the water. Ohio State’s Ruslan Gaziev split 18.56 to get his hand on the wall, while Michigan’s Bence Szabados clocked a 18.64, the 2nd-fastest split in the field. OSU won with a 1:23.03, while Michigan took 2nd at 1:23.07.

Indiana was in a bit a hole after a 22.09 leadoff from Luke Barr, but Van Mathias (22.74) and Tomer Frankel (19.89) had the fastest breast and fly splits of the night, and Gavin Wight anchored in 18.80, as the Hoosiers took 3rd in 1:23.52, also under the NCAA ‘A’ cut.

The top end of this event was markedly slower than last year. In 2022, three teams went under 1:23: Ohio State (1:22.13), Indiana (1:22.51), and Michigan (1:22.90).

Purude (1:23.86) and Wisconsin (1:23.92) also battled throughout the race, with both squads finishing under the NCAA ‘B’ cut. The Badgers knocked over half a second off of their weeks-old school record of 1:24.54, while the Boilermakers were just 0.04s shy of their school record in the event. Until the beginning of the month, the Wisconsin men had never been under 1:25 in this event, and now they’ve gotten under 1:24.

Max McHugh is gonna Max McHugh, and sure enough, he split 22.57 on breast, pacing the field on the leg in which he has the fastest time ever (22.40). Minnesota ended up 6th in 1:24.21, collecting a NCAA ‘B’ cut. Last year, Minnesota DQ’d thanks to two early takeoffs, and ended up not swimming the event at NCAAs.

Northwestern took 7th in 1:25.66, as Kevin Houseman nearly got under 23 with a 23.07 breast split. Penn State finished 8th in 1:25.89.

Men’s 800 Free Relay – Timed Finals

  • NCAA Record: 6:03.89, Texas – 2022 NCAA Championships
  • Big Ten Record: 6:06.01, Indiana – 2018 NCAA Championships
  • Big Ten Championship Record: 6:09.85, Michigan – 2014
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 6:16.02

Top 8:

  1. Indiana – 6:10.80
  2. Michigan – 6:13.51
  3. Ohio State – 6:16.26
  4. Minnesota – 6:18.85
  5. Wisconsin – 6:19.18
  6. Purdue – 6:28.17
  7. Northwestern – 6:29.29
  8. Penn State – 6:29.35

The Hoosiers used the same four swimmers as they did last year and were nearly a second faster than they were when they won in 2022.

Rafael Miroslaw led off once again, and he was nearly a second slower than he was last year, clocking a 1:32.73 versus a 1:31.89 last year. Tomer Frankel split 1:33.33, also a bit off of last year’s time. The improvement came on the backhalf, where Brendan Burns (1:32.03) and Van Mathias (1:32.71) were each over a second faster than they were last year.

Michigan improved by about a second from last year’s time to once again take 2nd. Gal Cohen Groumi led off in 1:32.96, freshman Eitan Ben-Shitrit split a strong 1:32.47 on the second leg, then Eduardo Moses (1:34.87) and Wyatt Davis (1:33.21) closed it out, en route to a 6:13.51, also under the NCAA ‘A’ cut.

It was the same finish order for the top three as last year, as Ohio State took 3rd in 6:16.26, a two second improvement from last year. Ruslan Gaziev (1:33.24) and Tomas Navikonis (1:33.02) got the Buckeyes going with a pair of 1:33s, then seniors James Ward (1:34.38) and Thomas Watkins (1:35.62) brought it home.

Minnesota couldn’t match its top-seeded midseason time, sliding to 6:18.85 and a 4th-place effort. Wisconsin was also under the NCAA ‘B’ cut with a 6:19.18, including a 1:32.71 leadoff from Jake Newmark.

There was nearly a ten second drop-off between the top five schools and the bottom three. Purdue took 6th in 6:28.17, while Northwestern hung on to touch out Penn State, 6:29.29 to 6:29.35.

Scores Through Day 1

  1. Ohio State / Indiana – 118
  2. (tie)
  3. Michigan – 112
  4. Purdue/Minnesota/Wisconsin – 100
  5. (tie)
  6. (tie)
  7. Northwestern – 92
  8. Penn State – 88

With only two events down, scores are understandably tight. Ohio State and Indian are tied for the lead after each team took 1st in one race and 3rd in the other. Michigan holds 3rd after finishing as the runner-up in both races, while we have a three-way tie for 4th between Purdue, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Expect to see some more separation between the teams after the end of tomorrow, but the conference does look like it could be settling into the ultimately tiers fairly early.

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Old school swim
1 year ago

Time for Penn State to make a change in leadership.

DP Spellman
1 year ago

Meanwhile, in Iowa City, Gary Barta still really sux at his job.

1 year ago

Penn State in the wrong conference here, beat by 3 CAA teams in the 2medley? I guess NW not much better

Reply to  Observing
1 year ago

I mean Kentucky went 1:28 in the 200 MR.

Octavio Gupta
1 year ago

Just like in football, the Big Ten underwhelms

Reply to  Octavio Gupta
1 year ago

Uhm, both OSU and UM came with a play or two (or shitty hit in OSU’s case) of meeting the FBS final?

Reply to  Kirk
1 year ago

OSU and UM also have zero SEC titles. Whammy

Tea rex
1 year ago

I have never met Van Mathias and have no IU connection, but I love what that guy does on relays. I feel like if you put him in a 4×400 backstroke relay he’d have the fastest split just by virtue of it being a relay.

1 year ago

how did IU not win that?

Reply to  NoMorePancakes
1 year ago

22 leadoff simply doesn’t cut it at this level, the woes of IU 2 medley continue.

NCs they’ll probably run Burns/Mathias/Frankel/Wight or Franzman

Reply to  Andrew
1 year ago

Barr didn’t swim close to his fastest split, but still bizarre not to use Burns. He was second in the 100 back last year so has speed and likely not on the sprint free relays.

Last edited 1 year ago by IUfan
Unknown Swammer
1 year ago

I wonder if something happened on that turn – seemed like Tomer lost a ton of ground on that second 25

1 year ago

I’m surprised Indiana didn’t use Burns for the backstroke leg

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