2024 Women’s Big Ten Championships: Day 1 Finals Live Recap

2024 Big Ten Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships

WEDNESDAY FINALS HEAT SHEET

The 2024 Big Ten Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships have arrived with the 200-yard medley relay and 800 freestyle relay slated for Wednesday night at Purdue’s Morgan J. Burke Aquatic Center.

The Ohio State women are eyeing their fifth straight Big Ten title in a row, but as usual, they’ll have to hold off Indiana along with a resurgent Michigan squad led by a new coaching staff. This will be the last Big Ten Championships before USC and UCLA join the conference, making this meet crown all the more elusive moving forward.

The Buckeyes enter as the top seed in the 200 medley relay (1:34.46) by more than a second while Wisconsin owns the fastest entry time in the 800 free relay (6:59.75) ahead of Indiana (7:01.08) and Michigan (7:02.23).

200 Medley Relay

  • NCAA record: 1:31.73, Virginia – 2023 ACC Championships
  • Meet record: 1:33.64, Ohio State – 2022
  • Pool record: 1:34.58, Indiana – 2017
  • NCAA ‘A’ cut: 1:36.24
  • Time to qualify for 2023 NCAAs: 1:36.96

Top 8:

  1. Ohio State – 1:33.47 *Big Ten meet record
  2. Michigan – 1:35.28
  3. Indiana – 1:35.81
  4. Wisconsin – 1:36.58
  5. Northwestern – 1:37.53
  6. Minnesota – 1:38.06
  7. Illinois – 1:38.63
  8. Nebraska – 1:39.42

Ohio State started the meet with a bang by breaking its own Big Ten Championships meet record of 1:33.64 from 2022. The Buckeyes’ quartet of junior Nyah Funderburke (23.61 backstroke), fifth-year Hannah Bach (25.92 breaststroke), senior KitKat Zenick (22.45 butterfly), and junior Teresa Ivan (21.49 freestyle) combined for a winning time of 1:33.47, nearly two-tenths quicker than the previous standard and almost two seconds faster than runner-up Michigan (1:35.28).

Funderburke’s backstroke leadoff was the fastest in the field, just off her personal-best 23.58 from last year’s meet. She was the lone addition to the record-breaking relay from two years ago, replacing Emily Crane. Bach’s breaststroke split was the quickest in the race by over a second, but still slightly slower than her 25.51 from 2022. Both Zenick and Ivan were slightly faster than their splits from two years ago.

200 Medley Relay Records, Splits Comparison

New Record: 1:33.47 – Ohio State, 2024 Old Record: 1:33.64 – Ohio State, 2022
Nyah Funderburke (23.61 back) Emily Crane (23.77 back)
Hannah Bach (25.92 breast) Hannah Bach (25.51 breast)
KitKat Zenick (22.45 fly) KitKat Zenick (22.73 fly)
Teresa Ivan (21.49 free) Teresa Ivan (21.63 free)

Both the Wolverines and 3rd-place Indiana (1:35.81) reached the wall under the NCAA ‘A’ cut (1:36.24) to round out the podium.

Michigan senior Casey Chung led off with a 24.54 back, junior Natalie Kan split 27.15 on the breast leg, sophomore Brady Kendall followed with a 22.39 fly split, and junior Lindsay Flynn anchored with a 21.20 free — the fastest in the field. The Hoosiers’ relay was composed of junior Kacey McKenna (23.70 back), junior Brearna Crawford (27.02 breast), Chiok Sze Yeo (23.68 fly), and fifth-year Ashley Turak (21.41 free).

Notably, Illinois set a new program record tonight, finishing 7th in 1:38.63. Suvana Baskar (24.77), Kylee Sessions (28.57), Logan Kuehne (23.04), and Lily Olson (22.25) teamed up to get it done, shattering the previous Illini record of 1:39.75, which was set at last year’s Big Tens.

800 Freestyle Relay

  • NCAA record: 6:45.91, Stanford – 2017 NCAA Championships
  • Meet record: 6:54.58, Michigan – 2019
  • Pool record: 6:55.34
  • NCAA ‘A’ cut: 7:00.86
  • Time to qualify for 2023 NCAAs: 7:05.59

Top 8:

  1. Indiana – 6:55.45
  2. Michigan – 6:57.09
  3. Wisconsin – 6:58.05
  4. Ohio State – 7:00.37
  5. Northwestern – 7:06.09
  6. Minnesota – 7:10.32
  7. Purdue – 7:10.88
  8. Nebraska – 7:11.31

The 800 free relay got a lot faster this year as three teams broke the seven-minute barrier tonight compared to just one last season.

Anna Peplowski led off Indiana’s quartet with a personal-best 1:42.04, taking more than a tenth off her previous-best 1:42.20 from earlier this month. The junior gave the Hoosiers a lead they never relinquished, with senior Ella Ristic (1:44.85), junior Ching Hwee Gan (1:45.04), and sophomore Kristina Paegle (1:43.52) sealing the victory in 6:55.45.

Fresh off a successful performance at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, Michigan freshman Stephanie Balduccini threw down a blistering 1:41.69 split on the third leg to carry the Wolverines past Northwestern, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. Sophomore Katie Crom (1:44.38), freshman Hannah Bellard (1:46.42), and sophomore Christey Liang (1:44.60) joined Balduccini on Michigan’s runner-up squad (6:57.09). Balduccini owns a lifetime best (flat start) of 1:43.30 in the 200 free from November, but she proved tonight she’s got much more left in the tank.

Wisconsin, the top seed in this race, placed 3rd in 6:58.05 courtesy of junior Abby Carlson (1:43.88), senior Phoebe Bacon (1:43.21), redshirt junior Lily Gardner (1:45.99), and sophomore Blair Stoneburg (1:44.97).

Ohio State didn’t break seven minutes, but the Buckeyes did sneak under the NCAA ‘A’ cut (7:00.86) with their 4th-place finish in 7:00.37.

Sydney Stoll broke the Illinois program record in the 200 free, leading off the Illini relay in 1:47.53. She dipped under the previous record, which was set by Abby Cabush at 1:47.71 back in 2021.

Team Scores After Day 1:

  1. Indiana – 118
  2. Ohio State – 116
  3. Michigan – 112
  4. Wisconsin – 106
  5. Northwestern – 100
  6. Minnesota – 96
  7. Nebraska – 88
  8. Purdue – 86
  9. Illinois – 78
  10. Iowa – 72
  11. Rutgers – 64
  12. Penn State – 34

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Michigan Fan
1 month ago

Baldiccini’s 1:41 split was amazing – but then to realize she just returned from Doha and did that? Completely nuts. GO BLUE!

Sherry Smit
1 month ago

Lily Gardner is a junior, I thought

PlzMove
1 month ago

Purdue’s timing system/scoreboard suck why are they hosting this meet?!

Stranger Things
Reply to  PlzMove
1 month ago

Awful timing nightmare

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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