Ohio State Women’s Non-Scoring Swimmers Show Off Buckeye Depth at Big Ten

2024 WOMEN’S BIG TEN SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS

  • Feb. 21-24, 2024
  • Morgan J. Burke Aquatic Center
    • West Lafayette, Indiana
  • Defending champions:
    • Women: Ohio State (4x)
  • SCY (25 yards)
  • Live stream (B1G+)
  • Live results

After Ohio State’s Nyah Funderburke in 2022 had the fastest prelims swim in the 100 back, the Big Ten’s ‘non-scoring’ swimmers have earned special attention.

2022 was the first year of new Big Ten Championship roster rules. The new rules still allowed teams to bring 26 athletes to Big Tens, but only 18 of them were allowed to score. That swim for Funderburke, which qualified her for the NCAA Championships, was the launching of her college swimming career, which now sees her as a key contributor to Ohio State, who placed 2nd at the Big Ten Championships last weekend.

While there were no Funderburke-esque swims at this year’s Big Ten Championship meet, there were some non-scoring results that were still worth noting.

It’s become fairly normal for swimmers on these non-scoring teams to outpace their scoring teammates – as coaches are playing a bit of a guessing game with tapers.

Noteworthy Non-Scoring Swims:

In a meet that came down to just a .5-point gap between the champions Indiana and the runners-up Ohio State, the Buckeyes made a few possible lineup miscalculations.

  • The biggest for Ohio State was Lucy Malys, who swam 1:58.19 in prelims of the 200 fly. That was the 8th-best swim in prelims and if she were on the Buckeyes’ scoring team, would have put her into the A final and given her a minimum 22 points (barring DQ). Along with C-Final worthy results in the 400 IM and 500 free, if Malys were on the scoring roster, she could have outscored the Buckeyes’ divers Clara McGing and Michelle Mazzarra, who combined for 34 points in one roster spot. It would have been tight. Certainly less impactful than McGing not finishing competition on 3-meter or the DQ in the 200 free relay.
  • Also for Ohio State, senior Libby Gilbert swam 1:54.42 as a non-scorer in the 200 back. That too would have put her into the A-final as the 6th-best performer in the heats. Gilbert just a week earlier swam a new personal best in the 200 back of 1:55.65 at the Ohio State Winter Invite, but she easily undercut that on Saturday at Big Tens. She also was lined up for 6 or 7 points in the 200 free, and a best time in the 500 free would have earned her points as well.
  • Ohio State’s Paige Delma swam 2:13.88 in the 200 breast and 1:59.82 in the 200 IM, both best times that would have put her in “B” finals. With a C-Final in the 400 IM, that might have outscored any of the swimmers listed above. For the freshman Delma personally, those results will be a huge confidence-builder, including a 200 IM that was her first time under two minutes.

In all three cases, it would have been very tight as to whether it improved, but all the Buckeyes needed to find was .5 points.

  • Indiana maybe made a miscalculation with Kabria Chapman. She swam 1:01.14 in the 100 breast, which would have put her 10th, and in a simulated “time trial” final in the 200 breast, swam 2:14.97, which would have put her 19th. As seeded, that would have outscored Chiok Sze Yeo and would have been close to Kathryn Forrester, though the needed Chiok for their free relays.
  • Ohio State also had Allison Fenska swam 53.71 in the 100 back out of the non-scoring team. That would have put her in the middle of the B-Finals.

Two of the biggest breakthroughs from non-scoring teams came from the University of Michigan.

  • Ella Jo Piersma swam 22.46 in the 50 free, 49.31 in the 100 free, and 1:46.84 in the 200 free. Her season-best times coming into the meet were 22.90, 51.21, and 1:47.95, respectively, all lagging well behind her times from last season. All of her times last weekend would have put her in B-Finals, though. Putting her on the scoring team would have definitely improved Michigan’s scoring, but not by enough to impact their standings. Just a sophomore, Piersma will have an opportunity to build off this next season.
  • Lily Cleason from Michigan swam 53.38 in the 100 back and 1:56.04 in the 200 back. Both would have put her in the B Final.

There were no nationally-relevant results in Big Ten time trials, though there were still some best times. For example, Sydney Stoll of Illinois dropped a best time int he 100 free of 50.16, which improves on her previous best of 51.15 from 2021, when she was still in high school. Her freshman teammate Kylee Sessions swam 51.67 in a 100 free time trial, improving her lifetime best of 51.89 done last January – also when she was in high school.

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Ice Golem
1 month ago

ELLA JO IS THE GOATTTTTT

T Hill
1 month ago

What is of interest to me is to see how college women swimmers can still improve, from meaningful HS state or club meets. Not always an easy task especially coming from highly competitive clubs. What are the best programs doing and how does that play into what they look for in recruits. As we know many variables and we see DII & III doing the same. Topic worth delving into – I believe….

James Beam
1 month ago

Braden- do you know the rationale behind only 18 can score, and you can bring 24 swimmers/divers? To the best of my knowledge, the Big10 is the only conference that does this? I feel like it becomes limiting to developing swimmers/divers….

MarshFAN
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

Ideas to make swimming “more entertaining”? PLEASE anyone help with this idea!!!!

DMSWIM
Reply to  James Beam
1 month ago

I know at one point the ACC did it and the Big East did as well when it was a Power 5 conference before realignment.

thezwimmer
Reply to  James Beam
1 month ago

The MAC does this, although divers count as 1/3 roster spot since there are only two events. The rationale behind taking the additional athletes are that they can be bumped onto the scoring squad in the event of a last-minute injury/scratch. The entries for the meets are due the week before the competition starts, but what would happen if someone rolled an ankle getting off the bus or got into a car accident, and there were no additional swimmers/divers entered in the meet to replace them with?

The additional roster spots can also help schools justify larger rosters to athletic directors that don’t understand the sport.

Meeeee
Reply to  thezwimmer
1 month ago

for the MAC (and I suspect others) it is also about providing an opportunity for younger swimmers to gain experience at the conference meet.

Poop
1 month ago

Perhaps they should do away with this whole scoring/non-scoring nonsense. It makes no sense for swimmers to travel to a championship meet and not be able to have a second swim.

Last edited 1 month ago by Poop
Justin Observer
Reply to  Poop
1 month ago

Along the same lines, mid-majors are doing away with C finals. The swimmers are there, the flights and rooms are paid for, the venue is set up, but opportunities for second swims are reduced. The overall time savings is inconsequential as these swimmers are swimming time trials after the session. For a sport that places so much focus on infrequent taper meets and for mid-major members looking to garner the respect allotted to the Power 5 (who still has C finals), what is the rationale for limiting opportunities for the swimmers with a non-scoring C final? Certainly the number of teams in some of these conferences is shrinking, but how does this decision benefit the student-athlete…or does anyone ask this… Read more »

KeepItRollj g
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

CAAs added C-Finals for Women this year *fistbump*

Swim4life
Reply to  Justin Observer
1 month ago

ASUN also didn’t have a C final. Can’t understand the reasoning. Same thoughts as Justin Observer above. Some teams don’t rest at all until conference and then to limit the swimmers chance to get an evening swim in whether they are on the scoring roster or not doesn’t encourage our athletes.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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