Natalie Schumann and Jessica Campbell are covering the Big Ten Championships for us this week. Both are journalism majors at Indiana.
After heat 5 of 7, it seemed that a sub-4:20 would be necessary to make the final. Then sub-4:19. But after the last heat of prelims, it was a 4:18.60. A time that placed fifth in last year’s final rounds out the top eight seeds heading into tonight. Michigan’s Anders Nielsen (4:16.05), Wisconsin’s Michael Weiss (4:16.17), and Michigan’s Connor Jaeger (4:16.27), hold the top three seeds, all separated by a mere two-tenths of a second.
Nielsen and Weiss both dropped over five seconds from their original seed times, and granted their momentum carries over to tonight, the race could get interesting. Alex Miller of Ohio State (4:17.80), Sean Ryan of Michigan (4:18.36), Michael Wynalda of Michigan (4:18.43), Nicholas Ankosko of Penn State (4:18.56), and James Barbiere of Indiana (4:18.60) are the remaining A-final qualifiers. Michigan’s ridiculous depth is dangerous, and not just in the 500, as is that of the Big Ten in these distance races.
200 Individual Medley
This final will be a battle between four Hoosiers and a pack of Wolverines. The finalists consist solely of Indiana and Michigan swimmers, an unusual situation in a conference with so many strong teams.
Seeded first is Michigan’s defending Big Ten Champion Kyle Whitaker (1:42.80), already significantly faster than his 2012 championship time of 1:43.40. His teammate Dylan Bosch took second with a 1:43.27. Three Indiana swimmers, Cody Miller (1:43.49), Steve Schmuhl (1:44.12) and Eric Ress (1:44.16) look to challenge Whitaker and his teammates tonight. Michigan’s Peter Brumm (1:45.03), John Wojciechowski (1:45.09), and Donald Hurley (1:45.09) round out the top eight.
18.3 medley relay split: check.
Pool record (19.35) set by Olympian Matt Grevers in 2006: check.
Top seed going into tonight’s final: check.
Minnesota’s Derek Toomey holds the top spot in this 50 free with a 19.25, followed by Purdue’s Danny Tucker (19.37) and Michigan’s Zach Turk (19.39). The typically unpredictable 50 free should live up to its reputation tonight, with only half a second separating the top seed from the eighth. In prelims alone, Tucker dropped nearly seven tenths from his seed time, and Indiana’s Daniel Kanorr also had a huge drop from 20.05 to 19.50. Michigan’s depth threatens again, with three swimmers in the top eight alone.
The 500 freestyle should be close. The 200 IM battle between Indiana and Michigan could be epic. And the 50 freestyle never disappoints. The fast times and close races expected tonight will ultimately set up the scoreboard for the rest of the meet. Michigan’s depth seems to dominate, but a few other teams (Indiana, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Minnesota) have proved themselves worthy competition.