Ohio State Holds Off Upstart Penn State, Freshman Houck Splits 19.0


  • Saturday, January 16
  • Columbus, OH
  • Short course yards (SCY)
  • Results

Penn State’s men and women (and one diver from Rutgers) came to Columbus this weekend, making for a very competitive meet against Ohio State. The men’s meet was close, and the women’s meet came right down to the final relay.

Rutgers was initially going to have their season debut here with swimmers and divers, but a week ago, news surfaced that their roster was ‘fluid’ and they’d be redshirting most of their roster this season. Per head coach Jon Maccoll last week, only three swimmers and three divers are physically on campus as COVID-19 has complicated their season plans.


  • Score
    • Ohio State 157, Penn State 141

The women’s meet was quite close, with things coming down to the wire in the final stretch of events.

Ohio State was buoyed, like in their men’s meet, by sweeps in distance and diving. Sally Tafuto led the distance charge, going 10:03.05 in the 1000 free and then 4:56.79 in the 500 free, leading a 1-2 punch in the 500 with Georgia Mosher (4:57.81). On the boards, Mackenzie Crawford soared to wins in both events, leading OSU 1-2-3’s in both (and a 1-2-3-4 in the 1-meter).

Another strong event for the Buckeyes was the 100 free, where seniors Taylor Petrak and Freya Rayner went 1-2 in 50.74 and 50.78, respectively, followed by sophomore teammate Amy Fulmer in third (51.19). The other winner for OSU yesterday was Josie Panitz, who clocked a 2:14.95 to secure the 200 breast.

Marie Schobel led the Nittany Lion charge, as she swept the backstroke events. She was part of a massive initial effort for PSU, who won every event in the first half of the meet except for the 1000 free. The junior was 53.83 in the 100 back, winning by over a full second, and then 1:57.35 in the 200 back to lead a PSU 1-2 with senior teammate Stephanie Szekely (1:57.96).

Brooke Matthias was another double winner for Penn State, taking the fly races (54.63/2:01.51).

Maddie Cooke was big in the 50 free, taking down Rayner, 22.78 to 23.09. Cooke was also 24.00 on the fly leg of PSU’s winning 200 medley relay, and her 50.12 400 free relay lead-off was a lifetime best by a few tenths, edging out the 50.53 old best she went at the 2020 Big Ten Championships. Nittany Lion Carly Hart also snagged a close one against OSU’s big breaststroke squad, posting a 1:01.53 to edge Panitz (1:01.86).

With two events left, Margaret Markvardt picked up a crucial win for Penn State in the 200 IM, going 2:01.87 to easily handle OSU’s Kristen Romano (2:03.47). That brought Penn State within striking distance again (seven points) after getting decimated on the 1-meter, forcing it all come down to the 400 free relay.

Ohio State stamped out the final surge from Penn State in the 400 free relay, though, going 3:20.71 ahead of Penn State’s 3:21.60, the Buckeye B relay also snagging third. Petrak was 49.99 on the second leg for OSU, while PSU got a 49.69 anchor from Elizabeth Gaspari.

Sophomore sprinter Abbie Amdor was a notable absence for the PSU women.


  • Score
    • Ohio State 163.5, Penn State 134.5

Ohio State had key showings from freshman distance specialist Charlie Clark and a deep diving group as they kept an upstart Penn State crew at bay.

Clark opened up his event slate with a victory in the 1000 free, leading a 1-2-3-4 finish with a 9:07.90. He was back in the 500 free, as the Buckeyes again swept the top three spots, posting a 4:30.47; in both races, UConn transfer North Hansen was second (9:18.95 in the 1000, 4:35.89 in the 500).

Winning big in the 200 free was senior standout Paul Delakis, the favorite for the 2021 conference crown in the same event after finishing second last season and having the top returning time in the Big Ten. Delakis was 1:37.68, claiming the win by almost three seconds.

The other big winner for OSU was Jason Mathews, who took the 100 breast by over a full second with a 53.41, while WVU transfer Hunter Armstrong tied for the 100 free win (44.62) with PSU’s Will Roberson. Meanwhile, on the boards, Joseph Canova won both diving events as the Buckeyes took the top four spots in both.

Penn State had a fantastic meet, though, keeping things close with the Buckeyes. Before Roberson’s tie in the 100, he led a 1-2 finish in the 50 free, clocking a 19.85 as freshman Jake Houck was second in 19.92.

Houck had several huge performances yesterday. Before starting college, he was just 20.75/45.92 in sprint free and 48.92 in the 100 fly. Yesterday, though, in addition to a sub-20 50 free, he split a massive 19.04 to stage a come-from-behind win in the 200 medley relay over OSU. He also tied with teammate Zac Zwijacz in the 100 fly at 48.15 and added a third lifetime best with a 45.11 400 free relay lead-off, helping the Nittany Lions take their second relay win.

Zwijacz also won the 200 fly in 1:47.42.

Michael Daly swept the backstrokes for PSU, posting a 47.24 in the 100 back and 1:44.04 in the 200 back. His 47.24 in the 100 back was a lifetime best by over a second; he typically focuses on the 200 back and distance events. Another win for the Nittany Lions went to sophomore Daniel Raisanen, who was the breast leg on their winning medley relay. Raisanen, a Swedish national, clocked a 1:58.89 in the 200 breast to upset Mathews by a few tenths after Mathews won easily in the 100 breast.

Delakis was back in the 200 IM, though he couldn’t quite get the job done, denied the win by PSU’s Hayden Harlow, 1:49.96 to 1:50.21.

The Buckeyes had enough points for the win going into the 400 free relay, and Penn State knocked them off, 2:58.51 to 2:59.37.

Notable absences for the Buckeyes included sophomore backstroker Jonah Cooper and redshirt sophomore sprinter Ruslan Gaziev. Gaziev was supposed to be back with the team this season after an Olympic redshirt year last season. Star sprinter Gabe Castano was also out for the Nittany Lions.

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Swim fan
1 year ago

Sad when a team feels the need to suit up to feel like they can compete. Save it for champs?

Reply to  Swim fan
1 year ago

Sad when you win a meet and STILL come on the internet to complain.

I can’t think of a Big Ten meet in the last 5 years where Ohio State hasn’t had some complaining about suits.

If I were a recruit, I wouldn’t be interested in surrounding myself with this kind of negativity.

Swim fan
Reply to  swimapologist
1 year ago

I’m in no way associated with Ohio St. I actually have more issues with Penn States rep

Reply to  Swim fan
1 year ago

It was discussed before the meet that both teams would suit up. Last minute change clearly.

Reply to  Swim fan
1 year ago

What rep???

Reply to  Swim fan
1 year ago

Normally, I would agree but considering the fact that the Big 10 wasn’t able to compete until this month, I would give them a pass. There aren’t many chances to be suited this season.

Working swim mom
Reply to  Dmswim
1 year ago

How much does suiting up really help if they are old suits and no rest or shave? A little, probably, enough to have made the difference in 1-2 races… maybe. Honestly, in this meet, diving likely made a bigger difference in the outcome of the meet.

Maybe just be happy these athletes are getting a chance to compete at all. They have all made huge sacrifices to meet COVID requirements to get to compete. At this point with so many programs at risk of being cut, I was just happy to get to watch some B1G swimming and some great racing.

Reply to  Working swim mom
1 year ago

nonono. You missed the narrative. We’re NOT supposed to be happy that everyone’s swimming, because not everyone CAN swim.

It’s like lent. Thou shalt abstain from tech suits so that you too may know the suffering of jesus teams on the west coast.

1 year ago

Penn state wore tech suits while Ohio state did not

1 year ago

Jake Houck is listed as 6-0, 150 lbs on the PSU roster… and split 19.0 😳

I anticipate the weight room making a profound impact for him.

PA swimmer
1 year ago

PSU suited

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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