IU V. Michigan Battle for 2021 Big Ten Title Will Come Down to Final Relay

2021 BIG TEN MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIPS

For those unfamiliar with swimming terminology, the concept of “Ups” and “Downs” is a good way to track which teams performed best at prelims. In prelims, swimmers qualify for one of three finals heats: the top 8 finishers make the A final, places 9 through 16 the B final and places 17 through 24 the C final. In finals, swimmers are locked into their respective final, meaning a swimmer in the B heat (spots 9-16) can only place as high as 9th or as low as 16th, even if they put up the fastest or slowest time of any heat in the final.

With that in mind, we’ll be tracking “Ups,” “Mids” and “Downs” after each prelims session. “Up” refers to swimmers in the A final, “Mid” to swimmers in the B final and “Down” to swimmers in the C final.

CURRENT SCORES

  1. Indiana – 1036.5
  2. Michigan – 1010
  3. Ohio State – 1000
  4. Purdue – 615.5
  5. Wisconsin – 571
  6. Northwestern – 554
  7. Penn State – 496.5
  8. Iowa – 444.5
  9. Minnesota – 396
  10. Michigan State – 149

The final preliminary session of the 2021 Big Ten Men’s Championships are in the books, with just one finals session to go before crowning this year’s team champion. Looking at the current scores, Indiana has a 26.5 point-lead over Michigan for the lead, who is 10 points ahead of Ohio State. The remaining top 6 teams include Purdue (615.5), Wisconsin (571), and Northwestern (554). Once again, the Michigan Wolverines flexed their deep team with 8 up, 4 mid, 1 down swims from just three events. Indiana and Ohio State were uniform picking up 6 up and 2 mid swims, with the Hoosiers earning an extra C-final swim over the Buckeyes.

Taking the top seed in the 100 free was Purdue Boilermaker Nikola Acin, punching in the top time of 42.27, which crushed the 2013 program record of 42.84. Behind him are #2 and #3 seeds Ohio State’s Semued Andreis and Hunter Armstrong. Earning the #4, #6, and #8 seeds for Michigan include Gus BorgesRiver Wright, and Cam Peel, who sandwich 100 fly champion Tomer Frankel and #7 Jack Franzman from Indiana.

After breaking the Big Ten meet record in the 200 fly, Indiana’s Brendan Burns returns into another finals session as the top seed, this time in the 200 back (1:40.33), which is not far off 2014 record of 1:38.89. Burns leads a 1-3-5 prelims finish for the Hoosiers and will be joined by #3 Gabriel Fantoni and #5 Jacob Steele in the A-final. Ohio State’s Thomas Watkins is seeded second ahead of Michigan’s #4 Wyatt Davis and #8 Jared Daigle.

The last finals event, the 200 breast, will feature a stacked battle between Ohio State’s Paul DeLakis (1:52.20) and Minnesota’s Max McHugh (1:52.84), who both swam sub-1:53 this morning. Earlier in the championships, DeLakis won the 200 IM/free while McHugh topped the 100 breast. Joining DeLakis in the A-final will be #4 Jason Mathews and #7 Connor Isings. Picking up the #3 seed for Michigan was William Chan, who was the 100 breast runner-up to McHugh. Michigan also picked up 2 more A-finalists, #6 Mason Hunter and #8 AJ Bornstein. Indiana’s Zane Backes also qualified 5th into the A-final after placing 3rd in the 100 breast final.

DAY 5 UPS/MIDS/DOWNS

Credit to Andrew Mering for running the numbers.

All 100 Free 200 Back 200 Breast
Michigan 8/4/1 3/2/1 2/2/0 3/0/0
Indiana 6/2/4 2/0/1 3/0/1 1/2/2
Ohio State 6/2/3 2/0/0 1/2/1 3/0/2
Northwestern 1/2/5 0/0/3 1/0/2 0/2/0
Purdue 1/2/3 1/2/1 0/0/1 0/0/1
Penn State 1/2/3 0/1/1 1/0/0 0/1/2
Minnesota 1/1/3 0/0/1 0/1/1 1/0/1
Iowa 0/5/0 0/1/0 0/2/0 0/2/0
Wisconsin 0/3/2 0/1/0 0/1/2 0/1/0
Michigan State 0/1/0 0/1/0 0/0/0 0/0/0

DAY 5 SCORING EVENT BREAKDOWN

Michigan Indiana Ohio State Iowa Northwestern Purdue Minnesota Penn State Wisconsin Michigan State
100 Free 100.5 56 55 20 12 67 5.5 17 17 12
200 Back 79 93 60 31 29 1 20 23 26 0
200 Breast 73 57 88 30 36 7 37 20 14 0

SCORED Day 5 PRELIMS

  1. Michigan – 252.5
  2. Indiana – 206
  3. Ohio State – 203
  4. Iowa – 81
  5. Northwestern – 77
  6. Purdue – 75
  7. Minnesota – 62.5
  8. Penn State – 60
  9. Wisconsin – 57
  10. Michigan State – 12

After the final three-event preliminary session, Michigan picked up 46.5 more points than Indiana, who picked up 3 more projected points than Ohio State. Iowa had a big morning returning 5 B-finalists, which is a projected 81 points. However, the session will also feature the 1650 free/mile timed finals, which will start between prelims and finals. Leading the 1650 free seeds is Indiana’s James Brinegar over Michigan’s Jake Mitchell, both equally having a chance at the 2021 title.

1650 Free Seeds

Ups/Downs Projected Points
Minnesota 1/2/1 63
Northwestern 1/2/0 62
Indiana 2/0/1 61
Wisconsin 2/0/1 56
Ohio State 1/2/1 52
Michigan 1/1/0 42
Penn State 0/1/1 14
Iowa 0/0/2 10
Purdue 0/0/1 2
Michigan State 0/0/0 0

If we add in the 1650 free/mile seeds, Iowa’s meager 10 points on paper do not match Minnesota and Northwestern’s 62-63 projected points. Looking at the updated projected day 5 scores, adding scored prelims with the mile seeds, Iowa now has the 7th-most returning points behind Northwestern (139), Minnesota (125.5), and Wisconsin (113). Meanwhile, Indiana currently has 19 more projected mile points than Michigan.

Updated Projected Day 5 Scores

  1. Michigan – 294.5
  2. Indiana – 267
  3. Ohio State – 255
  4. Northwestern – 139
  5. Minnesota – 125.5
  6. Wisconsin – 113
  7. Iowa – 91
  8. Purdue – 77
  9. Penn State – 74
  10. Michigan State – 12

Totaling day 5 projected scores and current team scores, Michigan and Indiana are only separated by 1 point, making the 400 free relay the meet decider if things remain the same on paper. Ohio State will most likely stay in third place with the 48.5-point margin between them and the lead pair. In the race for 4th place, Northwestern’s projected 139 points have them passing Purdue by a half point.

CURRENT SCORES + Projected Day 5 Scores

  1. Michigan – 1304.5
  2. Indiana – 1303.5
  3. Ohio State – 1255
  4. Northwestern – 693
  5. Purdue – 692.5
  6. Wisconsin – 684
  7. Penn State – 570.5
  8. Iowa – 535.5
  9. Minnesota – 521.5
  10. Michigan State – 161

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SwammaJammaDingDong
4 months ago

This is one of those sessions of a swim meet that would be terrific for a television audience.

Oldmanswimmer
4 months ago

No fault of the author because it is the only thing he could do, but using the seeds in the 1650 doesn’t seem realistic given how Michigan has been swimming compared to their seeds. Berlitz, Babyak and Roberts have all had great drops in other events, with Roberts qualifying second in the 500 free. So I will predict that Michigan will score more like 70-80 in the 1650 and go into the final relay with a big enough lead, barring disaster. Although it does make an exciting headline!

Guerra
Reply to  Oldmanswimmer
4 months ago

It looks like you might be right. Both IU and Michigan had a great meet. It looks like the Wolverines just had a little more depth.

H20PoloFan2
Reply to  Guerra
4 months ago

Transfers hurt a lot. Bruno was 125 points gone and Vargas a lot for UM too. Both young teams will be better next year but impressive now as well. Congrats to Blue

About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro started swimming at age 11, instantly becoming drawn to the sport. He was a breaststroker and IMer when competing. After joining SwimSwam, the site has become an outlet for him to research and learn about competitive swimming and experience the sport through a new lenses. He graduated in …

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