Third-place Indiana looks primed to surge on day 3 of the women’s Big Ten Championships, leading all programs with 16 scoring swims locked up.
For those who aren’t as familiar with swimming terminology, this article will refer to “ups” and “downs.” “Ups” are swimmers in the A final for tonight (top 8), while “Downs” refers to swimmers in the B final (places 9-16).
Here’s a quick look at the scores as they stood after last night’s session:
- Minnesota – 232
- Michigan – 196
- Indiana – 179
- Wisconsin – 162
- Penn State – 147
- Purdue – 123
- Ohio State – 109
- Iowa – 102
- Northwestern – 74
- Nebraska – 66
- Illinois – 46
- Rutgers – 43
- Michigan State – 24
The Hoosiers didn’t look to be in great shape until the 100 back, where they loaded up the finals with 4 in the A and 2 in the B. That launched them to 9 up and 7 down, two more up than the next-highest program. Also helping Indiana is that they have a title contender in 5 of the 6 individual events tonight, including diving. They’ve also got a shot to 1-2 the 200 free just a day after doing the same in the 500, led by freshman Kennedy Goss.
The defending conference champs from Minnesota currently lead and sit second with 7 up and 5 down. They’re going to have to get past a brutal backstroke event, though, with zero point scorers lined up and Indiana ready to score around 50 in the event. But if last night is any indicator, the Golden Gophers should get a huge boost from their divers – Yu Zhou and Katy Etterman combined to go 1-2 for Minnesota last night on 1-meter, two of four Gophs in the top 10. Also exciting for Minnesota is freshman Brooke Zeiger, who is the #1 seed in the 400 IM after missing the 500 free A final yesterday but then putting up the event’s third-fastest time in the B final.
Michigan is just a tick behind with 6 up and 4 down in a pretty well-rounded effort. They’re second overall right now and while their prelims swims don’t give them finals point-scoring opportunities in great quantity like IU of Minny, they also have several title contenders, most notably freshman Clara Smiddy in the 100 back. If she can beat Indiana’s stud NCAA champ Brooklynn Snodgrass there, she’s probably the immediate favorite for “Swimmer of the Meet.”
Tonight’s 400 medley relay is probably the most interesting one for the three-way battle between those programs for the team title. All have fairly glaring weaknesses. Minnesota has no backstroker, scoring zero swimmers in today’s 100 back. But Indiana lacks a breaststroker, getting skunked in that event. Michigan, meanwhile, barely eked out points with just a 16th-place finish in the 100 fly.
It’ll be a matter of which program can best excel at its strengths in that event tonight, with all three teams hoping just to stay afloat on their weak stroke.
Also of note: it was a great day for 6th-place Purdue, which should easily more than double its total points with 11 scoring swims. They’re the only other program in Indiana-Minnesota-Michigan territory in ups/downs, and should also do very well in diving.
Ups/Downs – Day 3
(Note: these figures do not include 3-meter diving)