For those not as familiar with swimming lingo, this article will frequently refer to “Ups” and “Downs.” “Up” refer to a swimmer qualified for the A final (places 1-8), while “down” represents a swimmer in the B final (spots 9-16).
It’s a yearly Big Ten tradition for Indiana to make a final-day run in the 200 backstroke, and 2015 is no exception: the Hoosiers put 5 swimmers into the A final and 2 into the B, in what should be a giant points boost. Included in that group in 2014 NCAA champion Brooklynn Snodgrass, who is favored to move up and win the conference title again this year.
That accounts for 7 of the Hoosiers’ 12 scoring swims lined up for tonight (not counting platform diving and the 1650, which are yet to compete).
Indiana will need to do most of its work on that race, though, as they sit nearly 50 behind Minnesota, and don’t have a single point-scorer in the 200 breast. The 1650 should be a great race for the Hoosiers, but Minnesota and Michigan are strong there as well. Minnesota has also been getting a sizable diving boost, winning both previous diving events with freshman Yu “Shelly” Zhou.
Minnesota has its own issues, though. The 200 back was as disastrous as it could be this morning, with Minnesota qualifying zero point-scorers and Indiana and Michigan – the two tops challengers to the reigning Big Ten champs – sweeping the top eleven places combined.
But things aren’t all doom and gloom for Minnesota. If they can get past the backstroke without hemorrhaging too many points, they’ve got two A finalists each in the 100 free and 200 fly, and also have the presumptive 200 breast champ Kierra Smith, plus a very solid diving corps and 400 free relay. Making the ups/downs a bit more misleading is that the Gophers scratched freshman star Brooke Zeiger from the 200 back, instead likely swimming her in the 1650, where she has the potential to score big.
In fact, scoring out the prelims results along with psych sheets of the 1650, tonight’s finish should be an absolute barn-burner. Scoring out prelims has Indiana leading 517-501.5. Adding in the seeds in the 1650, that number changes to a 537.5-534 Minnesota lead heading into platform diving and the 400 free relay. (A similar scoring projection has Michigan finishing at 464.5)
Michigan sits third, but has the firepower to make a surge of their own tonight with 5 up and 4 down. Michigan struggles mightily in the 200 fly (zero point-scorers), but has 3 A finalists in the 200 back alone, and can make up big points on Indiana if those three can knock off various Hoosiers in the championship heat. Michigan also has freshman Gillian Ryan, who should be a major point-scorer in the mile.
Wisconsin keeps doing what they do – they’ve got 4 up and 4 down, Ivy Martin leading the 100 free and are probably the favorites in the 400 free relay, given that Martin has been dropping bombs on her relay splits all week. Diving and the mile might make it tough for Wisconsin to catch the top 3 teams, but they’re still very much in the hunt at this point.
Team Scores after Day 3
- Minnesota – 421
- Indiana – 374
- Michigan – 331
- Wisconsin – 299
- Purdue – 261
- Ohio State – 250
- Penn State – 224
- Iowa – 153
- Northwestern – 106
- Nebraska – 105
- Rutgers – 92
- Illinois – 60
- Michigan State – 57
Day 4 Ups/Downs
(Note: these figures do not include platform diving or the 1650)