BuckEYEing a Four Peat: 2023 Women’s Big Ten Championship Preview

2023 Women’s Big Ten Championships

  • When: Wednesday, February 15- Saturday, February 18, 2023
  • Where: Canham Natatorium, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Defending Champion: Ohio State (3x) 
  • Championships Central
  • Live Results
  • Live Video (TBD): DAY 1  |  DAY 2  |  DAY 3  |  DAY 4
  • Prelims: 10 am Finals: 5:30 pm (Eastern), 5:00 pm start Wednesday
  • What Will it Take To Qualify for NCAAs?



  • 200 medley relay
  • 800 free relay


  • 200 IM
  • 50 freestyle
  • 500 freestyle
  • 400 medley relay


  • 100 butterfly
  • 400 IM
  • 200 freestyle
  • 100 breaststroke
  • 100 backstroke
  • 200 freestyle relay


  • 200 backstroke
  • 100 freestyle
  • 200 breaststroke
  • 200 butterfly
  • 1650 freestyle (timed finals)
  • 400 freestyle relay


  1. Ohio State 1303   
  2. Michigan 1185
  3. Indiana 1100   
  4. Wisconsin 1085
  5. Northwestern 919.5   
  6. Minnesota 838.5
  7. Purdue 479   
  8. Rutgers 449
  9. Nebraska 423  
  10. Penn St 396
  11. Illinois 199  
  12. Iowa 165


Illinois – Sara Jass (freshman IM/breast), Kaleigh Haworth (senior breast/IM), Cara Bognar (junior fly/IM) 

Kaleigh Haworth has had a huge senior season for the Illini women. She has already dropped from a 1:03.1 to a 1:02.5 in the 100 breaststroke and a 2:16.63 to a 2:13.98 in the 200 breaststroke. She may potentially be able to squeak in some B final swims after swimming in both the C finals in the breaststrokes last year.

Cara Bognar was the team’s highest scorer last year and had her highest finish as 16th in the 400 IM. That was also the team’s only B final swim of the whole 2022 meet. Bognar has already been faster in the event this year. 

Sara Jass has had a big freshman year dropping about three seconds in her 200 breaststroke going from a 2:16 to a 2:13. Jass has also had a huge drop in the 200 IM going from a 2:04 to a 1:59 and could also potentially make multiple B finals. 

All of these improvements should have the Illini in numerous B finals, which improves upon Bognar’s singular B final swim as their highest individual finish last year.

Indiana – Anna Peplowski (sophomore back/free), Noelle Peplowski (fifth year breast/IM), Mac Looze (fifth year breast/IM), Ching Hwee Gan (sophomore distance free) 

Anna Peplowski, the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Meet, is coming off a big year having finishing second in the 200 free and 200 back last season, and she’s only continued her momentum this year, already setting a best time in the 200 back by a second at midseason. Peplowski could challenge Wisconsin’s Phoebe Bacon in the 200 back, and if Amy Fulmer of Ohio State does not swim the 200 free this year, Peplowski could end up with a win there. 

The fifth-year duo of Noelle Peplowski and Mac Looze returning for the Hoosiers is huge as they look to continue to score big points in the breaststroke and IM events, especially with Noelle having already hit the A cut in the 200 breaststroke at their midseason invite.

Ching Hwee Gan also had a strong freshman campaign, having picked up a 3rd place finish in the 1650 last year. Now that she’s been with the Hoosiers for a full season and fully adjusted to short course yards, look for her to contend with the likes of Lola Mull and Paige McKenna in the mile and to pick up additional A final swims in the 500 free and 400 IM.

Iowa – Kennedy Gilbertson (senior sprint free/back), Scarlet Martin (freshman fly), Sabina Kupcova (freshman free) 

The Iowa women had only one finalist last year with a 24th place finish in the C final of the 100 breaststroke, but it looks as if that should change with the improvements of Kennedy Gilbertson and a strong freshman class. Gilbertson has already gone a best time in the 100 back this season with a 53.66 and is currently 16th in the conference. Additionally, her 22.75 and 50.09 freestyle times should also be a big help to their relays. 

Like Gilbertson, Kupcova also has freestyle value with a 50.26 in the 100 and a 1:48.59 in the 200. Flyer Scarlet Martin is also a very likely scorer as her 53.45 100 fly is currently 12th in the conference and her 1:59.93 200 fly is currently 22nd. 

Michigan –  Lindsay Flynn (sophomore sprint free), Letitia Sim (sophomore breast/IM), Katie Crom (freshman mid-distance free/fly), Devon Kitchel (freshman IM)

Lindsay Flynn leads the way for the Wolverines. Flynn is important both from an individual standpoint and from a relay standpoint as she is sub-22 50 and holds a best of 47.50 in the 100 free. 

Letitia Sim helps on the breaststroke and IM, especially as the 2nd fastest returner in the 100 breaststroke and is knocking on the door of a sub 58 time. Both Sim and Flynn are returning legs to the medley relays which also featured Olivia Carter and Maggie MacNeil last year. 

Michigan’s freshman class looks to score big, especially Katie Crom came in as one of our top 20 recruits and has already made waves in the 200 fly and 500 free (she is the only sub 4:40 in the conference this season so far). Fellow top 20 recruit Devon Kitchel has also made an impact across a number of events and could be huge for the Wolverines wherever they place her. 

Minnesota – Megan Van Berkom (junior IM/fly), Emma Lezer (senior breast), Hannah Cornish (sophomore sprint free), Joy Zhu (5th year springboard specialist)

Versatile Megan Van Berkom has the potential to win 3 titles at this meet for the Gophers as she is the returning champion in the 400 IM and the highest scoring returner in both the 200 fly and 200 IM from last year’s version of this meet. Although she faces stiff competition, she can’t be counted out. 

Emma Lezer won the B final of the 100 breast this year and is currently sitting at #7 in the conference with a sub 1:00 time so look for her to challenge for a spot in the A final this year. Hannah Cornish is a key piece to the Gophers relays, especially on the sprint free relays which have been a strength of this Minnesota team for the past few years. 

Even with Sarah Bacon graduating, the Gophers have a strong diving squad led by Joy Zhu, the runner-up on both springboard events last year to the aforementioned Bacon. Expect her to contend for the title in the 1m and 3m, scoring big points for this Gopher team.

Nebraska – Maia Hall (sophomore breast), Shannon Stott (fifth year free/fly)

Maia Hall was the team’s highest returning scorer and has already gone best times this year in the 200 breast and 200 IM by about a second. She made the B final in both breaststrokes last year.

Shannon Stott has had a huge fifth year, and has dropped over five seconds already in the 500 free. Her 500 free time from midseason currently sits at 10th in the conference. She won the C final in the 200 fly last year and is already around her time from then, so adding points in the 500 free would be a boost.

Northwestern – Lola Mull (junior distance free), Miriam Guevara (fifth year fly/back), Lindsay Ervin (freshman sprint free)

Freshman sprinter Lindsay Ervin will have to take over a lot of the sprint duties as Jasmine Nocentini confirmed she will not be swimming at Big Tens. Ervin has seen huge drops that have vaulted her into the top 8 in the conference in the 50 and 100 free and only adds to the Wildcats’ sprint-free depth for these events plus relays.

On the other end of the freestyle distances, Lola Mull is again one to watch as she secured two runner-up finishes at last years’ championships in the 500 free and 1650. Look for her to challenge Paige Mckenna for the title in both events again and score big points for the Wildcats (more on the distance free showdown later). Additionally, 5th year Miriam Guevara ranks in the top 8 in the Big Ten in the 100 and 200 flys and 100 back. With Maggie MacNeil and Olivia Carter gone, Guevara is the 2nd fastest returner, and could potentially improve her 4th place finish in the 100 fly from last year’s meet.

Ohio State – Amy Fulmer (Senior Sprint Free/Back), KitKat Zenick (sprint free/fly), Nyah Funderburke (sophomore sprint back/free), Felicia Pasadyn (transfer free/back/fly/IM)

The Ohio State women will be especially dominant in the sprints (and especially the free relays), as four of the top seven times in the 50 free in the conference are from the Buckeyes. 

Amy Fulmer should lead the charge and may potentially swim on all five relays, but the Buckeyes shouldn’t need her to do so to win the Big Ten title again. KitKat Zenick is the top returner in the 100 fly and has already gone a best time in the event this season. Zenick also helps out the sprint free crew. 

After being on the non-scoring roster last season, Nyah Funderburke will *most likely* swim her first Big Tens with the ability to swim in scoring-finals. Funderburke swam the fastest 100 back during prelims last year and will be a threat to join the mix there. 

Felicia Pasadyn joins the Buckeyes and brings great versatility. She has the top time in the conference in the 200 fly and also has a top eight time in the 200 back, 200 IM, and 400 IM. She also boosts the 800 free relay so expect her contributions to be big.

Penn State – Olivia Jack (fifth year breast), Emma Harvey (senior back/fly), Catherine Meisner (freshman free) 

Olivia Jack is the teams highest returner and is in her last year with the Nittany Lions. She’s been as fast as 1:00.02 in the 100 breast which she swam at a last chance meet last year. 

Emma Harvey has had a huge senior year and has already dropped from a 54.55 to a 53.03 in the 100 back. She could threaten to squeak into the A final with a little more of a drop. Catherine Meisner has a 1:46 200 free which is significant both individually but also for the team’s 800 free relay.

Purdue – Maggie Love (sophomore breast/IM), Daryn Wright (freshman diver), Sophia McAfee (sophomore diver)

Purdue has historically been known for their diving and expect that to continue. Their top five scores last year were all divers, including Sophia McAfree who was their top scorer and who has returned for her sophomore year. Daryn Wright has had a phenomenal freshman year at Purdue and to put it into swimming perspective, Wright represented the US at the 2022 FINA Worlds. 

Maggie Love has already been a 1:00.81 in the 100 breaststroke and a 2:00.01 in the 200 IM. Her 100 breast is currently 13th in the conference. 

Rutgers – Rachel Kimmel (fifth breast/IM), Alice Scarabelli (grad student back/free) 

Rachel Kimmel transferred to Rutgers for her fifth year and was an A-10 champion during her undergrad at Saint Bonaventure. Kimmel has gone best times this season already in the 100 breast, 200 IM, and 400 IM and has been less than a second off her best in the 200 breast. The team only had one A finalist last year but Kimmel’s 100 breast is currently 10th in the conference. 

Scarabelli was the team’s only A finalist last year finishing eighth in the 200 free. She’s shifted her focus more towards the backstroke events this year and didn’t swim the 200 free at midseason but that doesn’t mean she won’t swim it at conference. She went a best time of 1:57.16 in the 200 back at midseason which is currently 13th in the conference. 

Wisconsin – Phoebe Bacon (Junior Back/IM), Paige McKenna (junior distance free), Mackenzie McConagha (sophomore fly/back)

Phoebe Bacon currently has the top times in the conference in the 200 IM, 100 back, and 200 back. She is the defending champ in both backstrokes and looks to be the favorite here once again. 

Like Bacon, Paige McKenna also won two events last year, the 500 and 1650 frees. McKenna went on to win the mile at NCAAs, dropping seven seconds from her time at Big Tens. McKenna is not currently the top seed in either event, but swam the same time in the 500 at this year’s midseason meet as she did last year. 

Mackenzie McConagha finished behind Bacon in the 100 back last year. She was absent from mid seasons making it a little more difficult to place where she ranks in the conference this season, but her dual meet times have been solid so it is important to note her importance and potential impact. 


50 free: Amy Fulmer vs. Lindsay Flynn vs. Kristina Paegle

Last year it was Maggie MacNeil and then everyone else. With MacNeil taking her 5th year at LSU, the 50 free this year can be considered a wide open race. Amy Fulmer of Ohio State is the highest finishing returner as she was second last year in a 21.71. She’s been as fast as 21.94 this year which sits only behind Jasmine Nocentini of Northwestern who went a best in 21.59 at midseason. Nocentini was third last year with a 21.78 in finals but has been battling an injury recently and has confirmed she will not be swimming at Big Tens. Michigan’s Lindsay Flynn, is another one that could contend as she has a sub-22 second personal best at 21.94 and has already been 22.06 this year. Indiana freshman Kristina Paegle has had a strong start to her college campaign setting a best time of 22.07 at midseason so watch for her to dip under the 22 barrier this week. Overall this is a strong event for Ohio State with Kit Kat Zenick, Teresa Ivan, and Nyah Funderburke all having the potential to join Fulmer in the A final and challenge for a top-3 finish.

500 Free: Paige McKenna vs Lola Mull vs Katie Crom

Last year, Paige McKenna won the 500 free in a 4:38.09. She went on to finish sixth in the event at NCAAs. Lola Mull of Northwestern was only a second behind McKenna in the event here last year and made the B final at NCAAs. Katie Crom of Michigan will be a newcomer to the event here and has the current top time in the conference. Crom is the only sub-4:40 time so far. 

200 IM: Phoebe Bacon vs. Josie Panitz vs. Megan Van Berkom

Phoebe Bacon of Wisconsin has the top time in the conference this season by over a second and a half. Bacon finished third in the event last year. Megan Van Berkom of Minnesota is the highest returner from last year as she was second in the event. Van Berkom had a big personal best in this event at last year’s meet and swimming the same way this year would be big. Josie Panitz was 13th in the event last year with a 1:58.34 but has already been much faster this season with a 1:56.50 from midseason. 

SwimSwam Picks

  1. Ohio State
  2. Indiana
  3. Michigan
  4. Wisconsin
  5. Northwestern
  6. Minnesota
  7. Rutgers
  8. Purdue
  9. Penn State
  10. Nebraska
  11. Illinois
  12. Iowa

I’m not going to make the same mistake I did last year and put Michigan at the top, ahead of Ohio State. It looks like Ohio State is about to go four in a row, but it will not be easy as Indiana should be right behind them.

Michigan and Wisconsin look to have solid holds on third and fourth respectively. The battle for fifth will most likely be a very tight one between Northwestern and Minnesota, especially with the loss of Nocentini.

Seventh through ninth (and you could argue tenth) is where things get very close. There was a 250(ish) points gap between sixth and seventh last year, but the difference between seventh and tenth was about 80 points. Rutgers has been led by strong fifth years and has a solid diving crew. Purdue also is known for their solid diving crew which may give them the edge over Nebraska and Penn State as well.

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swim observer
1 year ago

Why are the psych sheets still not posted?

Michigan fan
Reply to  swim observer
1 year ago

I recall big 10 never releases psych sheets. Another thing I noticed is that in meet mobile Wisconsin and Purdue aren’t listed in the teams section????

swim observer
Reply to  Michigan fan
1 year ago

That’s strange that Big 10 doesn’t release them like other conferences – I wonder why?

Eli Jones
1 year ago

Distance free has been realitivly slow this season for women. Realistically, its gonna probably take 4:34/15:45 to win the distance races this year. Really excited to see how Stege(s), Sullivan, McKenna, and McMahon do.

1 year ago

Felicia Pasadyn is an absolute beast! Can’t wait to watch her this weekend

1 year ago

Should highlight Hannah Bach in the OSU section as well.

Slick Nick
1 year ago

1. Ohio State
2. Indiana
3. Wisconsin
4. Michigan

That will be the order. You’re welcome.

1 year ago

I would say there’s a greater chance of Indiana women jumping OSU than Mich or Wisc jumping 2nd place

They also have big help coming to Btown in fall 2024 in the form of the Delmas twins and Leah Shackley who will be the 3 best swimmers on the team when they arrive (other than Paegle)

Ball State Swim Guy
1 year ago

Is anyone having a *huge* year?

About Anya Pelshaw

Anya Pelshaw

Anya has been with SwimSwam since June 2021 as both a writer and social media coordinator. She was in attendance at the 2022 and 2023 Women's NCAA Championships writing and doing social media for SwimSwam. Currently, Anya is pursuing her B.A. in Economics and a minor in Government & Law at …

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