2023 Men’s Big Ten Swimming & Diving Championships: Day 4 Prelims Live Recap


Day 4 Prelims Heat Sheet 

It’s the last prelims session of the 2023 Men’s Big Ten Swimming & Diving Championships. The session features heats of the 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, and 200 butterfly.

Day 3’s 100 backstroke champion Brendan Burns takes on the 200 back/200 fly double. Last year, Burns did this same double and walked away with two wins. Later Burns won the 200 fly at NCAAs in a new Big Ten record time of 1:38.71. He’s not the top seed in the event though–Michigan’s Gal Cohen Groumi is, and he’s been having an excellent meet so far, winning both the 200 IM and 100 fly titles.

Burns is the top seed in the 200 backstroke and there, Jake Newmark, Jared Daigleand Thomas Watkins will all try and set themselves up to unseat him later in finals.

Top seed in the 100 freestyle belongs to another Hoosier, Van Mathias. The fifth-year has had a strong meet so far as well, winning the 50 freestyle, and aims to ride that momentum through to finals. 2022 champion Hunter Armstrong and third-place Sam Andreis don’t return but five of the other ‘A’ finalists from last year are in the field, setting up for a tight race just to make the championship heat.

Minnesota’s breaststroke ace Max McHugh looks to repeat as the 200 breaststroke champion. To do so, he’ll have to unseat Indiana’s duo of Josh Matheny and Max Reich, who are the #1 and #2 seeds. McHugh is the reigning Big Ten champion and conference record holder, so expect him to save any fireworks he may have in store for finals. Matheny and Reich will probably hold their cards in prelims as well, and will instead aim to qualify safely in order to give Indiana the best chance to hold onto their team lead over Ohio State.

200 Backstroke — Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 1:35.73, Ryan Murphy (CAL) – 2016 NCAA Championships
  • Big Ten Record: 1:37.58, Tyler Clary (MICH) — 2009 NCAA Championships
  • Big Ten Championship Record: 1:38.89, Eric Ress (Indiana) – 2014 Big Ten Championships
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:39.13
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 1:40.92

Top 8:

  1. Desmon Sachtjen (Minnesota) – 1:41.11
  2. Brendan Burns (Indiana) – 1:41.17
  3. Thomas Watkins (Ohio State) – 1:41.28
  4. Jake Newmark (Wisconsin) – 1:41.42
  5. Wyatt Davis (Michigan) – 1:41.86
  6. Wes Jekel (Wisconsin) – 1:42.40
  7. Kai Van Westerling (Indiana) – 1:42.54
  8. Tyler Lu (Northwestern) – 1:42.83

Minnesota’s Desmon Sachtjen took nearly a second off his lifetime best with a 1:41.11 to take the top seed in the 200 backstroke. Sachtjen won the final heat, just out-touching defending champion Brendan Burns by sixth-hundredths. The Minnesota senior made his move over the final 100, splitting 51.27 to Burns’ 51.50. The Hoosier added about half a second from his season-best 1:40.66, which is not unexpected given this is his first of four 200s on the day.

Thomas Watkins is the top qualifier in the event for Ohio State at third, in a time of 1:41.28 which is .13 seconds off his lifetime best from this meet in 2021.

500 and 200 free champion Jake Newmark posted a season-best 1:41.42 to qualify fourth. Newmark is the defending silver medalist in the event.

Wyatt Davis continues to have an excellent meet, taking 2.94 seconds off his seed time with a 1:41.86 to move through to the final in fifth.

With the top five swimmers separated by less than a second, it looks like there’s a great championship race brewing.

100 Freestyle — Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 39.90, Caeleb Dressel (FLOR) – 2018 NCAA Championships
  • Big Ten Record: 40.83, Bowe Becker (Minnesota) — 2019 NCAA Championships
  • Big Ten Championship Record: 41.43, Blake Pieroni (Indiana) – 2018 Big Ten Championships
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 41.64
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 42.34

Top 8:

  1. Van Mathias (Indiana) – 41.74 (Pool Record)
  2. Ruslan Gaziev (Ohio State) – 42.44
  3. James Ward (Ohio State) – 42.65
  4. Rafael Miroslaw (Indiana) – 42.68
  5. Brady Samuels (Purdue) – 42.73
  6. Victor Baganha (Penn State)/Gavin Wight (Indiana) – 42.75
  7. (tie)
  8. Bence Szabados (Michigan) – 42.87

50 freestyle champion Van Mathias made it clear he was the man to beat in the 100 freestyle. The Indiana fifth-year ripped a new pool record of 41.74, lowering the mark from 42.08 which Penn State’s Shane Ryan logged in 2014. The time is a huge lifetime best for Mathias, who had never broken 42 seconds before. Now, the tables have turned, as he was the only swimmer in the field to turn in a 41-point swim.

Ruslan Gaziev and James Ward qualified second and third in 42.44 and 42.65 to give the Buckeyes two up in the ‘A’ final. Gaziev finished second last year, while Ward won the ‘B’ final. It was big from a team race perspective for Ward to grab a spot in the ‘A’ final, as two of Ohio State’s three ‘A’ finalists in 2022 (who swept the top three spots on the podium) didn’t return.

Rafael Miroslaw (42.68), Brady Samuels (42.73), and Victor Baganha (42.75) all return from last year’s ‘A’ final, where they finished fourth, fifth, and eighth in 2022.

Both Gavin Wight and Bence Szabados join Ward in making the jump from the 2022 ‘B’ final to this year’s ‘A’. Wight’s time is a personal best, clipping his previous best of 42.83 from midseason.

200 Breaststroke — Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 1:47.91, Will Licon (TEX) – 2017 NCAA Championships
  • Big Ten Record: 1:48.76, Max McHugh (Minnesota) – 2022 NCAA Championships
  • Big Ten Championship Record: 1:49.45, Max McHugh (Minnesota) – 2022 Big Ten Championships
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:51.54
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 1:53.23

Top 8:

  1. Jassen Yep (Indiana) – 1:53.12
  2. Max Reich (Indiana) – 1:53.23
  3. Max McHugh (Minnesota) – 1:53.28
  4. Josh Matheny (Indiana) – 1:53.85
  5. Nick Sherman (Purdue) – 1:54.01
  6. Marcus Mok (Northwestern) – 1:54.13
  7. Luke Barr (Indiana) – 1:55.18
  8. Ansel Froass (Michigan) – 1:55.20

Unsurprisingly, Indiana’s breaststroke crew showed up big in the 200 breaststroke. The Hoosiers put four swimmers into the championship heat, led by #1 seed Jassen Yep, who tied his lifetime best from midseason of 1:53.12. Yep won the final heat ahead of his teammate Josh Matheny, who touched second in the heat and fourth overall in 1:53.85.

Joining Yep and Matheny in the ‘A’ final are their teammates Max Reich and Luke Barr, who qualified second and seventh. Reich won his heat with a time of 1:53.23, over a second ahead of Nick Sherman and Marcus Mok who both qualified for the ‘A’ final.

In the first circle-seeded heat, defending champion Max McHugh did what he needed to do to make it back, hitting a 1:53.28 to move through to the final as the third overall seed. As a reference point, last year McHugh swam a 1:52.92 to top prelims on the way to his championship winning swim.

200 Butterfly — Prelims

  • NCAA Record: 1:37.35, Jack Conger (TEX) – 2017 NCAA Championships
  • Big Ten Record: 1:38.71, Brendan Burns (Indiana) – 2022 NCAA Championships
  • Big Ten Championship Record: 1:39.22, Brendan Burns (Indiana) – 2021 Big Ten Championships
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:40.20
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 1:42.42

Top 8:

  1. Brendan Burns (Indiana) – 1:42.22
  2. Tomer Frankel (Indiana) – 1:42.73
  3. Ben Miller (Northwestern) – 1:43.02
  4. Dominik Mark Torok (Wisconsin) – 1:43.12
  5. Chachi Gustafson (Ohio State) – 1:43.54
  6. Kaiser Neverman (Minnesota) – 1:43.56
  7. Gal Cohen Groumi (Michigan) – 1:43.66
  8. Constantin Bensch (Wisconsin) – 1:44.32

Burns put himself in excellent position to defend his 200 fly title, posting 1:42.22 for the top time of the morning. He was out in 48.93 before coming home in 53.29, putting him just .11 seconds off his season-best 1:42.11.

Burns’ teammate Tomer Frankel made it a 1-2 in prelims for the Hoosiers, clocking 1:42.73. While off his best, the time is an improvement from what he put up at this meet last year. In 2022, Frankel went a pair of 1:43s to qualify seventh and finish eighth.

Speaking of jumps, last year Ben Miller was a ‘C’ finalist; now, he’s third seed in the ‘A’ final. The Northwestern senior improved the lifetime best he swam at a January dual in 1:43.02 to take second in the penultimate heat behind Burns.

Dominik Mark Torok made himself known yesterday with big drops to win the 400 IM and he was at it again this morning in the 200 fly. The Wisconsin freshman came into the meet with a lifetime best 1:46.06 from a January dual, a mark which he has now lowered to 1:43.12. Based on the drop he had from prelims to finals in the 400 IM, look for him to shed more time tonight.

Top seed Gal Cohen Groumi qualified in seventh with a 1:43.66.

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B1G Fan
11 months ago

I love Ben Miller

Wanna Sprite?
Reply to  B1G Fan
11 months ago

Ben Miller comeback szn, hope he can squeeze into an NCAA spot tonight

Last edited 11 months ago by Wanna Sprite?
IU Swammer
11 months ago

Before diving:

IU: 11/1/1
OSU: 4/3/4
MICH: 4/7/4

That’s it, folks.

Reply to  IU Swammer
11 months ago

I think OSU is 4/3/6 and has 4 good milers IU 2. Diving IU has advantage. Last day is IU best thankfully. Hell of a meet and next year OSU and UM will close gap more as IU has a lot of GR and SR points this year. It will be good to add another team USC soon to deepen meet. I think C Final points are a stretch with limited team size and teams.

Hoosier Daddy
Reply to  H20PoloFan2
11 months ago

Will all come down to who uses their Covid year. Burns will be back which is massive

Reply to  Hoosier Daddy
11 months ago

He’s already told everyone he’s coming back. IU lost Fantoni/Steele/Blaskovic and Brinegar from last year and brought basically no one in this year and was fine for bigs.

They lose Calvillo, Mathias, and Capobianco next year but bring in Hafnaoui and Toby Barnett.

IU should win handedly next year

IU Swammer
Reply to  H20PoloFan2
11 months ago

For OSU’s C finalists, im seeing 2 in back, 1 in free, 1 in breast. The exhibition swims kinda throw things off.

I did not include the mile.

IU Swammer
Reply to  IU Swammer
11 months ago

Adding diving, and not including the mile:

IU: 15/2/2
OSU: 7/4/4
MICH: 4/9/4

Hoosier Daddy
11 months ago

That’s the meet. Gg buckeyes and wolverines

11 months ago

indiana puting 4 up in 2 breast was nail in the coffin for Ohio State

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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